Fo­ley’s en­e­mies were pre­par­ing to roll him ei­ther way

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - LABOR LEADERSHIP - LINDA SILMALIS

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.

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