Luke Foley rejects government calls to step aside over ‘harassment’ allegation
NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley has rejected repeated calls for him to step aside over allegations aired in State Parliament he “harassed” an ABC journalist at a function.
- ABC managing director David Anderson has requested a “full brief”
- A spokesperson for the broadcaster says it has not received a complaint
- Last week, NSW Corrections Minister David Elliot used parliamentary privilege to make accusations against Mr Foley
In a heated Question Time in NSW Parliament, Mr Foley responded to the calls to step aside by threatening to dish dirt on multiple government ministers.
Last night, Liberal Senator Eric Abetz asked ABC managing director David Anderson in a Senate estimates hearing about the claim Mr Foley had harassed an ABC journalist at a Christmas party in 2016.
Mr Anderson said there had been no official complaint made to the ABC, but he had requested a “full brief” on the matter.
During Question Time NSW Roads Minister Melinda Pavey drew parallels between Mr Foley and one of his backbenchers, the Member for Prospect Hugh McDermott, who was made to stand aside from a committee position before being cleared of harassment allegations earlier this year.
“He (Mr Foley) should stand aside while there is an investigation going on into the behaviour,” she said.
“You asked the Member for Prospect to stand aside, you should do the same during this investigation.”
Mr Foley then rose on a point of order and said if Ms Pavey wanted to make “personal reflections,” she would have to do so by “substantive motion” before it was debated.
“We would welcome such a debate, but we would move to amend it to talk about you, and you, and you and you,” he said while pointing at four government members,” he said.
Ms Pavey responded saying the opposition “is full of hypocrites”.
Foley must ‘consider future’, says Minister
Earlier, Family and Community Services Minister Pru Goward said Mr Foley should “consider his future” if the harassment allegations were substantiated.
“If the allegation is sustained there will need to be a consideration of that by of course the Labor Party and Mr Foley,” she said.
“He’ll have to read that report and consider his future.”
An ABC spokesperson said “no complaint has been received by the ABC”.
“Following claims made last week under parliamentary privilege, the Acting Managing Director has asked for a full brief,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
“As a statement of principle: We are always mindful of our duty of care to our employees, their welfare is our first concern, and the ABC always provides full support to staff members who raise matters of harassment in any form.”
Last week NSW Corrections Minister David Elliot used parliamentary privilege to accuse Mr Foley of harassing an ABC journalist after “having too much to drink”.