Noreen Hay is facing calls to quit politics amid an admission by her son that he could challenge Throsby MP Stephen Jones for preselection.
The Mercury can reveal Mark Hay, a 40-year-old Australian Defence Force military prosecutor, is considering the idea, creating the extraordinary potential for two members of the same family to represent the same region in state and federal parliaments.
"In the past, when preselections have been called, people have suggested I run and I have given it consideration but up to this point I've decided against throwing my hat in the ring," Mr Hay said yesterday. "It might be that this time is the time that changes."
Rank-and-file branch members could dump Mr Jones later this year should Labor's dominant right faction, led by Ms Hay, get its way.
Yesterday, Australian Workers' Union branch secretary Wayne Phillips labelled Ms Hay "distracting, divisive and destructive" and urged her to step aside.
"The problem with Noreen's camp is they've got to realise the Illawarra is not her empire or dynasty," Mr Phillips said.
"I think they would be better off attacking the Liberals rather than spending all their time and energy attacking sitting members of their own party.
"I think if Noreen is looking to line up seats for her family; maybe she should be looking at her own seat.
"She's been there long enough, she's been a distraction for too long and it's about time her time [in politics] comes to an end."
Mr Hay, who lives in Canberra with his wife and young child, said the decision whether to challenge Mr Jones would be his alone.
"I'm a grown man and I've got a fairly well established career in law and my mother has had no influence in that [so] if I make a decision to run it will be based on my own considerations, not my mother's," he said.
But Mr Phillips claimed Ms Hay was "building herself up as king".
"The general public gets totally fed up with this constant crap, this empire building, all this attacking ourselves," he said. "I think the Right has got to realise by carrying on the way they are, all we're doing is turning more people off Labor.
"There's got to be a time when someone in the head office tells Noreen to pull her bloody head in," he added.
Ms Hay could not be contacted yesterday.
On Tuesday, she refused to say whether Mr Jones, a member of the Left, deserved a second term in Federal Parliament.
Mr Phillips said he would urge members to preselect Mr Jones, who was parachuted into Throsby before the 2010 election.
NSW Labor Party general secretary Sam Dastyari has ordered Mr Jones and other MPs to face rank-and-file members this time around.
"Everybody has to face the music at some point," Mr Dastyari said yesterday. "For too long, ALP powerbrokers in Sydney have been telling Illawarra Labor members who their local member should and shouldn't be.
"That needs to come to an end."
On current estimates, Mr Jones would struggle to get enough votes should the Right put up a credible challenger. His strong support for same-sex marriage is one factor behind his unpopularity.
Mr Phillips said Mr Jones had performed reasonably well during his first term.
"Sure, some people don't like the stance he took on gay marriage," he said. "I don't really care one way or the other about what he did but I don't think it should be used against him. It was something dear to his heart and probably at least half the population supported him on it."
Mr Jones yesterday said he had received "strong support" from unions in the Illawarra over the last 24 hours.
Preselection details will be announced at Labor's annual state conference on July 14 and 15.