Labor leader Bill Shorten is facing calls to stare down "the boys club" of his own faction and back female candidates to contest two of the country's most important seats.
Preselecting female candidates has been dominated by the left-wing of the Labor party, with only one female, Claire O'Neill, out of nine members of the House of Representatives from Mr Shorten's faction - the Victorian Right.
The faction controls the seat of Melbourne Ports which sitting MP Michael Danby will vacate at the next election on a very tight margin of 1.4 per cent.
Former ACTU boss and Labor MP Jennie George said that while Labor had made enormous strides towards equal representation compared to the Liberal party, "all the heavy lifting had been done by the Left".
"Until now the outcomes have been very poor for the Victorian Right; it's been a boys club."
Prominent shadow cabinet ministers Penny Wong, Tanya Plibersek, Catherine King and retiring social services spokeswoman Jenny Macklin are all from the party's Left in South Australia, NSW and Victoria.
The executive director of the left-leaning John Curtin Research Centre, Nick Dyrenfurth, has confirmed he will run in the seat - to be renamed Macnamara at the next election. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews' adviser Josh Burns and former mayor Mary Delahunty are also expected to challenge.
Macnamara is the first of two seats up for grabs after Ms Macklin announced her retirement on Friday. A third Melbourne seat will also face a preselection battle after the Australian Electoral Commission announced the new seat of Fraser would be created in April.
The Parliamenatry Library confirmed Ms Macklin was the longest-serving woman in the history of the House of Representatives, after holding her seat for 8161 days, ahead of former Liberal speaker Bronwyn Bishop's tally of 8080 days.
Tanja Kovack, the national co-convenor of a fundraising group for Labor women, Emily's List, said it was crucial that more females got preselected for safe Labor seats such as Jagajaga, where Ms Macklin was elected in 1996.
"It has been the case for a very long time that there has been very little shift to affirmative action in the safest seats in the country," she said.
"Seats where Labor MPs can have 20-plus-year careers and be ministers and ultimately prime minister, we have struggled to hit 40 per cent, let alone 50 per cent [representation]."
Ms Kovack said the issue was not just for the Right of the party, "every faction has a problem".
She said the the looming federal election, which must be held before May next year, would be framed as a "battle on gender equality".
Only 18 of 84 Liberal MPs and senators in Parliament are women, its lowest level in more than two decades, compared to 42 out of 95 in the Labor party. In 2016, the Coalition set a target to preselect women for 50 per cent of winnable seats by 2025.
Ms Kovack said getting more women preselected was "urgent to stop the bully-boy attitude in Parliament that we have seen from people like David Leyonhjelm"
As Senator Hanson-Young weighs her options, and Senator Leyonhjelm refuses to back down from his comments, politicians from across the spectrum have rushed to condemn him.
In an explosive exchange in Parliament last week, Senator Leyonhjelm refused to apologise to Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young after he told her "to stop shagging men".
The independent senator went on to claim Senator Hanson-Young was “well known for liking men” during a Sky News interview where he accused her of claiming all men were responsible for sexual assaults.
Senator Hanson-Young has begun defamation proceedings against Senator Leyonhjelm.
Mr Shorten's office has been contacted comment.