Foley’s enemies were preparing to roll him either way
IT WAS Luke Foley’s little secret, and his enemies were waiting for the right moment to use it against him.
When Foley filled out his Labor party nomination form when he first sought to enter state politics in 2010, he omitted two prior drink-driving convictions.
According to several Labor sources, the omission was dis- covered shortly before Mr Foley became opposition leader in 2015 and seized upon by a group of supporters of another Labor rising star, Chris Minns.
Mr Minns was at that stage still to be elected to Parliament but has since become a leadership aspirant.
His supporters’ plan was to use Mr Foley’s apparent omissions to roll him before the March 2019 state election.
“The deal was Minns would be elected to a seat and then some time before March next year, Luke would be forced to stand down for lying to the party,” one Labor source said.
Three months before the March 2015 state election when Mr Minns was elected to the seat of Kogarah, Mr Foley publicly admitted to the convictions — unwittingly or not defusing the plot. He also amended the form.
Mr Minns, who is close to former NSW ALP general secretary Jamie Clements, said he had heard the “conspiracy rumour”, which followed an overheard conversation at a Lakemba restaurant where the plotters had been coincidentally seated next to a table of members of the “Subcontinent Friends of Labor” support group.
The conversation made its way back to NSW ALP headquarters. “I’ve heard it, but it is not true,” Mr Minns said.
“When was I supposed to do it? Luke had my support right up until Ashleigh Raper made her statement.”
One senior Labor source said Mr Foley’s backers wanted to bring in party elder Greg Combet to help sort the crisis.
One senior Labor strategist said the Liberals had scored a “massive own goal” by bring- ing Mr Foley down..
“The Libs will rue the day they destroyed Luke,” he said. “Daley will be formidable.
Mr Daley is close to NSW ALP general secretary Kaila Murnain, who worked for him in 2005. Ms Murnain, a member of the Right, helped install Mr Daley this week.
The relationship between Mr Foley and Ms Murnain had been “fractious”, the strategist said.