Hubris is pure folly for on-the-nose Libs

The Australian - - THE NATION - AN­DREW CLENNELL COM­MENT

Luke Fo­ley may be gone — and Pre­mier Gla­dys Bere­jik­lian’s elec­tion vic­tory chances may be en­hanced — but the La­bor Party is still in with a chance at the March state elec­tion.

So on the nose is the Lib­eral brand and so un­pop­u­lar has overde­vel­op­ment been in Syd­ney that the next leader, ex­pected to be Michael Da­ley, will have an out­side chance of win­ning govern­ment in a mi­nor­ity govern­ment sit­u­a­tion.

This is also be­cause re­cent heavy by-elec­tion de­feats in Wagga Wagga and Orange show the govern­ment is strug­gling in the re­gions.

The fact La­bor still has a chance is es­pe­cially so be­cause Fo­ley had a very low recog­ni­tion fac­tor in the elec­torate and any vote for La­bor and mi­nor par­ties will be more an anti-govern­ment vote than one for the La­bor leader.

About all they knew about Fo­ley was the lat­est al­le­ga­tion and that he was a dou­ble drink driver.

Jour­nal­ists who saw La­bor at the state con­fer­ence pro­mot­ing Fo­ley with his fam­ily winced as they thought about the Ash­leigh Raper al­le­ga­tion.

Prior to this week, the polls showed La­bor and the Coali­tion level at 50-50. La­bor hard­heads have con­ceded in re­cent months that a lead­er­ship change could cut 3 per cent off the La­bor twoparty-pre­ferred vote (the Turn­bull-Mor­ri­son change in govern­ment cut the fed­eral Lib­eral vote 5 per cent).

But five months is long enough to re­gain 3 per cent and force a mi­nor­ity govern­ment sit­u­a­tion when the Coali­tion mar­gin in the 93-seat Leg­isla­tive As­sem­bly is just six seats.

Fo­ley had no op­tion but to re­sign yes­ter­day — but he did have an op­tion not to sue over the Raper af­fair.

He made him­self few friends in La­bor last night with his de­fi­ant state­ment that he would sue, par­tic­u­larly af­ter jour­nal­ist Raper de­tailed al­leged phone calls that Fo­ley had made where he ap­peared to ad­mit the al­le­ga­tion.

A jour­nal­ist col­league of Raper was heard to laugh last night when Fo­ley came in and said he was look­ing to take le­gal ac­tion over the al­le­ga­tions.

Fo­ley has many rea­sons to sue: he has a wife and three chil­dren; he has no par­lia­men­tary pen­sion should he leave par­lia­ment; and he will want to stay on and be mem­ber for Auburn — some­thing that could be taken out of his hands by the La­bor Party.

He could also be con­cerned that any ad­mis­sion might re­sult in some form of crim­i­nal sanc­tion.

They say that Fo­ley “dug in for five hours” yes­ter­day — de­spite var­i­ous MPs and lu­mi­nar­ies telling him he had to go af­ter Raper fi­nally re­leased her bomb­shell state­ment.

Even­tu­ally, af­ter trav­el­ling home to Con­cord to dis­cuss the al­le­ga­tions with his wife, he agreed to re­sign as op­po­si­tion leader.

There were moves in La­bor last night to have him dis­endorsed from his seat of Auburn.

A cau­cus meet­ing is tipped for Satur­day, with Michael Da­ley ex­pected to de­feat Chris Minns if he runs, giv­ing him hav­ing five months to prove he is an al­ter­na­tive to Bere­jik­lian.

A for­mer fi­nance and po­lice min­is­ter and long-time deputy leader, Da­ley at least has a lot of me­dia ex­pe­ri­ence and is un­likely to slip up.

But he does not have the four years of op­po­si­tion leader ex­pe­ri­ence that Fo­ley had.

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