Fool­ish to un­der­rate hard­ened op­er­a­tor

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - News - SAM DASTYARI COM­MENT

LUKE Fo­ley is dead and Michael Da­ley is alive.

“The prob­lem with NSW is that you started with the rum corps but never re­ally got around to dis­band­ing it,” a friend from Mel­bourne texted me last night. It’s true. The al­le­ga­tions against Luke Fo­ley are dis­grace­ful. And the Lib­eral MP David El­liott, who smeared a brave jour­nal­ist, will even­tu­ally face the mu­sic.

Pol­i­tics in this state is bit­ter, twisted and dis­taste­ful. It is also never dull.

To­day Michael Da­ley will emerge as the new leader of the NSW La­bor Party. This is a truly re­mark­able turn of events for a bloke who was never ex­pected to win La­bor en­dorse­ment for his seat.

I first met Michael in 2005. It was the morn­ing af­ter he had pulled off one of the great­est pre­s­e­lec­tion up­sets in La­bor Party folk­lore. De­spite all the fac­tions and po­lit­i­cal forces align­ing to stop him, Michael an­ni­hi­lated his op­po­si­tion to be­come the ALP can­di­date for Maroubra and re­place Bob Carr.

I was 22 years old and was sent as a sac­ri­fi­cial peace of­fer­ing from the La­bor ma­chine. We wanted a com­pli­ant yes man rather than the bois­ter­ous young Michael Da­ley.

Here is what most peo­ple know — Michael is a great guy. He has one of those per­son­al­i­ties. Funny. Gre­gar­i­ous. Charm­ing.

But there is an­other side to Michael Da­ley. He is also one of the tough­est and smartest op­er­a­tors in Aus­tralia. You don’t rise to the top of NSW La­bor by be­ing a shrink­ing vi­o­let.

The NSW Lib­er­als should be care­ful what they wish for. They don’t re­ally know Michael Da­ley. They don’t un­der­stand just how ef­fec­tive he is.

Back in 2005, at our first meet­ing, Michael turned to me and said: “You un­der­es­ti­mated me. That’s how I beat you.”

Thir­teen years later, the Lib­er­als would be fool­ish to make that same mis­take.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.