Foley won’t fight to keep Auburn seat
Former NSW Labor leader Luke Foley will not contest the seat of Auburn after allegations emerged he indecently touched an ABC journalist.
Mr Foley announced on Thursday he would resign as leader to sit on the backbench and pursue defamation claims after he was accused of touching journalist Ashleigh Raper inappropriately at a 2016 Christmas Party.
But late yesterday, as the party considered moves to disendorse him, Mr Foley wrote to its general secretary saying he would run out his term and not seek re-election.
Mr Foley said he had had time to reflect and talk to friends and colleagues and had decided to resign his endorsement for the seat of Auburn.
“The party must focus on the election which is at hand. I do not want to be a distraction,” his letter read.
“I will continue to work for the people of my electorate as member for Auburn until the election.”
The ALP released a statement shortly after confirming the party had accepted his resignation.
Earlier in the day, Mr Foley’s likely replacement as Labor leader, Michael Daley, said he did not want Mr Foley in the party.
“Frankly if I’m the leader of the Labor Party, I don’t want him sitting in our ranks,” he said.
Mr Daley and Labor’s highestranking female MP Jodi McKay threw their support behind Raper, who alleges Mr Foley put his hand down her underwear at a party in 2016.
Mr Daley said Raper “did the right thing” in coming forward, even though Mr Foley repeatedly and strongly denied the claims.
“She’s a credible person and I believe her,” the deputy leader said. “Ashleigh Raper did not deserve to be treated that way.”
Mr Daley will be challenged for the leadership by 39-year-old Chris Minns, who also supported Raper.
Raper issued a statement on Thursday detailing her version of the alleged drunken behaviour at a Sydney bar after a 2016 parliamentary Christmas party, alleging Mr Foley “put his hand through a gap in the back of my dress and inside my underpants” and “rested his hand on my buttocks”.