Labor leader resigns
NSW Labor leader Luke Foley has resigned following explosive allegations he touched an ABC journalist inappropriately after a parliamentary Christmas party.
It is alleged Mr Foley put his hands in the underpants of a state political reporter at a bar in Martin Place following the Christmas function two years ago.
In a brief statement to the media on Thursday, Mr Foley insisted the allegations were false and said he planned to sue for defamation.
“I can’t fight to clear my name and fight an election at the same time,” he said.
“It’s just not possible. Therefore, I am resigning as leader of the Labor Party effective today (Thursday).”
Mr Foley’s resignation comes just days after he flew up to the Tweed to commit $40 million towards building a high school in Pottsville.
“The case is clear, Pottsville needs a high school and only a NSW Labor government will build it,” he said on Monday.
Mr Foley was also the man behind state Labor’s controversial decision to build the new Tweed Valley Hospital at Kings Forest if elected in March.
During a visit to the Kings Forest site in June, Mr Foley announced the new hospital would be built on billionaire developer Bob Ell’s King Forest Estate, south of the selected site, if elected.
Mr Foley’s announcement was made before the State Government’s official site selection process was complete and was labelled as “politically questionable” by NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard.
Mr Foley said his decision would protect the State Significant Farmland at Cudgen and end any possible delay in building the hospital.
It is not yet known what the change in leadership will mean for the commitments of a new school at Pottsville and alternative hospital site.
— Rick Koenig