Federal cabinet minister Kelly O'Dwyer has slammed Labor's pre-election candidate switch in her vacated Melbourne seat, calling it the "height of arrogance".
Labor had preselected Josh Spiegel to run in the blue-ribbon seat of Higgins, which has been held by the Liberal Party since its creation in 1949.
But on Friday it was announced the young Mr Spiegel would be replaced by high-profile barrister and advocate Fiona McLeod.
The move came after Ms O'Dwyer announced she would resign from politics to focus on her family, vacating her seat.
"I think it's the height of arrogance. I think that people will see through it," Ms O'Dwyer said on Sunday when asked about the Labor candidate switch.
Some commenters said the move could mean the Liberal stronghold could be at risk of falling for the first time in the upcoming federal election.
The Liberals have selected paediatrician and local resident Katie Allen to contest Higgins, which spans Melbourne's affluent inner-east.
Ms O'Dwyer said Dr Allen better understands the Higgins electorate in a way Ms McLoud does not.
She described Ms McLeod as a "political activist from North Fitzroy", referring to the trendy suburb in Melbourne's inner-north.
"It says everything you need to know about Bill Shorten and the Labor Party," Ms O'Dwyer said.
"They think a political activist from North Fitzroy understands the Higgins community and better reflects them than a doctor who has lived here for more than 40 years."
Labor leader Bill Shorten described Ms McLeod as "one of the most credentialled women that the Labor Party, and indeed Australian politics, has had".
"There are not many firsts in her career as a barrister that Fiona hasn't accomplished," Mr Shorten said on Friday.
Ms McLeod has led legal teams in the Victorian bushfires royal commission and the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse.
She has also represented human trafficking victims and is a former president of the Law Council of Australia.