Hubris is pure folly for on-the-nose Libs
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.