Michael Daley (L) will put his hand up for the Labor leadership at a caucus meeting tomorrow. (AAP: Joel Carrett)
The likely successor of Luke Foley says politics is at “a low ebb” and in need of a “reset button” after the NSW Labor leader stood down amid allegations he harassed an ABC journalist.
Maroubra MP Michael Daley is believed to be a favourite to become opposition leader as the party prepares for a caucus meeting tomorrow afternoon.
Mr Foley yesterday resigned as Labor leader and denied an incident at a Christmas party in 2016 involving ABC reporter Ashleigh Raper, who released a statement saying he had put his hands down her dress and inside her underpants.
Mr Foley has signalled he will pursue defamation proceedings.
The allegation was first raised publicly by Liberal Government minister David Elliot under parliamentary privilege in NSW Parliament last month, during a fiery debate in which he attacked Mr Foley’s character.
Mr Daley today condemned the events.
“Politics is at a low ebb,” he said.
“We need to improve things in the NSW Parliament.”
Mr Daley said all MPs were thinking of Ms Raper.
“There needs to be a reset button and I‘m calling on [Premier] Gladys Berejiklian to join me now in saying that we need the Parliament to come to a higher standard.”
Raper didn’t want the allegations raised
In her statement, Ms Raper said Mr Elliot had raised the issue in Parliament without her involvement or consent.
Mr Elliot is refusing to comment amid calls for him to be answerable for his use of parliamentary privilege to air the allegations.
Labor MP Jodie McKay said Ms Raper had been let down by both Mr Foley and Mr Elliot.
“I don’t want to politically point score here, because I want to respect Ashleigh,” she said.
“But I do believe David Elliot has a lot to answer for.
“He took that into the Parliament. She did not want that, yet he did that because he wanted to score politically.”
Luke Foley fired back to Mr Elliot’s comments, threatening to dish dirt on government ministers. (AAP: Dean Lewins)
Ms McKay said she would support Mr Daley as the party attempts to regroup after a “tumultuous” 24 hours.
During an appearance on Channel Nine this morning, Federal Government frontbencher Christopher Pyne called on Mr Elliot “to answer for this own decision”.
He said he was not aware of whether Mr Elliot had planned the comment or said it in the heat of the moment, but it did not matter.
“I think it’s very unfortunate this is all going to be replayed over and over again in a defamation case,” Mr Pyne said.
Mr Foley has said he will now sit as a backbench Labor MP.
Not what parliamentary privilege is for: Labor
The state’s shadow treasurer, Ryan Park, said he was appalled a victim of alleged sexual harassment felt forced to talk about the issue, due to it being raised in Parliament.
“That was never what parliamentary privilege was for,” he said.
“You should never force a victim to have to say something that they are not comfortable talking about through the use of Parliament.”
“That’s not something that should ever happen again under any circumstances.”
Mr Park said both the allegations and the way the issue had been handled were damaging to the Labor Party.
He said he would back Mr Daley to fill the vacant leadership position.
In Ms Raper’s statement she said Mr Foley called her on Sunday to apologise and said he would resign as Labor leader on Monday or Wednesday.
Ms Raper said Mr Foley told her he knew he did something to offend her that night, but was drunk and could not remember all of the details.
She said he then called her again on Tuesday, repeated his apology, and said he wouldn’t be resigning after receiving legal advice.