NERVOUS Labor MPs say anxious caucus members fear Julia Gillard may dispose of them before the election.
There are concerns within Labor ranks the tactic used to put Nova Peris into the NT's top Senate spot would be used to "entrench'' the leadership of the party.
Several MPs said they regarded the use of the National Executive to oust Ms Crossin, a supporter of Kevin Rudd, as an unprecedented use of power by Ms Gillard to remove a representative.
"There are a lot of caucus members who are worrying what it means for them if they are not seen as an absolute star or a supporter,'' one MP said. "It has set a very damaging precedent.''
The anxiety generated by Ms Crossin's knifing was exacerbated because Ms Gillard had previously seen off Kevin Rudd and Harry Jenkins from their positions, MPs said.
One Labor MP even likened the move to end Ms Crossin's career to communist ideology of "executing one to educate a thousand''.
"She is heading down a dangerous path and setting a dangerous precedent if a leader can pick caucus members on the basis of patronage,'' the MP said."We are risking seeing candidates selected to entrench the leader.''
SA Labor MP Nick Champion yesterday told Sky he disagreed with the PM's intervention.
"I don't think that that's the best way to go - I think we're nearly always better having rank and file involvement in the preselections,'' he said.
Ms Gillard has said Ms Crossin's backing of Mr Rudd in last year's leadership challenge had nothing to do with her decision to endorse Ms Peris, who is assured a Senate spot and will become Labor's first indigenous representative in Federal Parliament.
The decision came in the wake of Labor being swept from power in the NT last August in an election in which indigenous voters abandoned the party to vote Liberal.
Ms Gillard began planning the move seven weeks ago and told Ms Crossin on Monday night at The Lodge but has said she would not routinely intervene in preselections.
Ms Crossin yesterday said in a Facebook update that thousands of people had sent her "messages of support and well wishes by text, Facebook, email and phone over the last few days.
Dozens of supporters posted replies including one who said: "I think what Julia Gillard has done to you is the same as what was done to Kevin Rudd. How dare they treat people like that.''