Foolish to underrate hardened operator
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.