Luke Foley says he won’t re-contest, with battle for NSW Labor leadership now between two
Luke Foley has told his Labor colleagues he will not re-contest his seat at the March NSW state election.
The member for Auburn, Mr Foley, wrote to NSW Labor officials and informed them of his decision.
Mr Foley yesterday resigned as NSW Labor leader but denied an incident at a Christmas party in 2016 involving ABC reporter Ashleigh Raper that triggered the decision.
Ms Raper released a statement saying Mr Foley put his hands down her dress and inside her underpants.
Yesterday, Mr Foley said he would remain as the member for Auburn and move to the backbench. He has denied the allegations.
The ABC understands there are still some calls from some within the party to expel Mr Foley.
Battle between two
Mr Foley’s announcement comes as the NSW Labor leadership is set be fought between two, with 39-year-old shadow water spokesman Chris Minns this afternoon unexpectedly throwing his hat into the ring.
The member for Kogarah’s late bid for the leadership ahead of tomorrow afternoon’s vote comes after frontrunner and deputy Labor leader Michael Daley announced his candidacy this morning following Mr Foley’s resignation.
Mr Minns was contemplating a run at the leadership last night and officially announced his candidacy on Friday afternoon.
However, senior Labor MPs have told the ABC that Mr Minns’s support could “be counted on one hand”, while another suggested he should do “a decent day’s work as a shadow minister before wanting to run for leader”.
Party insiders suggest Mr Daley remains the red-hot favourite to lead the Opposition to next year’s state election, with shadow environment and tourism minister Penny Sharpe expected to be named his deputy.
Most see Mr Minns’s leadership tilt as a long-term play, with the 39-year-old using the opportunity to signal his intentions if Labor were to lose the March election.
Mr Minns admitted he would struggle to gain the numbers tomorrow, but believed he could sway Labor MPs by offering policies focused on young people and families.
Chris Minns has called for an end to the controversial lockout laws that have impacted areas such as Sydney’s Kings Cross. (ABC News: John Donegan)
“The only shot the Labor Party has in my opinion is to present a bold optimistic and positive plan for NSW and get people excited about change,” Mr Minns said.
He said his main three policy focuses would be:
- To dump NSW’s planning laws
- To dump Sydney’s lockout laws that are “zapping the energy from Sydney”
- Promote policy to prepare the NSW economy for a weakening of the housing market
Mr Minns was elected in the 2015 NSW State Election, taking the seat of Kogarah after long-term predecessor Cherie Burton retired from politics.
“I didn’t expect that this day would come, but it has,” he said on his tilt for the leadership.
“Whoever is elected as Labor leader faces a near-insurmountable task, they need to unite the party, present a bold policy platform for this state.”
Daley outlines his policies
Speaking on Friday before Mr Minns outlined his intention to run, Mr Daley, who was flagged as Mr Foley’s possible replacement when rumours of his demise emerged last month, said if he was elected Labor leader he would “stick up for ordinary people”.
“The people who get up and go to work every day, who raise a family,” he said.
“They’ve been insulted, they’ve been left behind, they’ve been forgotten by this Government. They need someone to stick up for them and respect them.”
He said he wanted to press the reset button on politics in NSW.
“There will be a ballot tomorrow,” he said.
“I’ll be seeking the support of the colleagues. All I can do is ask for their support. I believe I am more qualified for the job [than Chris Minns] — we’ll see what the colleagues vote.
“I’m in their hands.”