La­bor leader re­signs

Tweed Daily News - - NEWS -

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

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