Michael Daley and Luke Foley. Photo: Jonathan Carroll, Dallas KilponenLuke Foley finally plays his handMP Barbara Perry’s ‘pariah’ move
Maroubra MP Michael Daley has withdrawn from the NSW Labor leadership race, giving frontrunner Luke Foley a clear run to the job.
Mr Daley, of the party’s right faction, was facing defeat in a caucus ballot on January 5, after ALP head office backed Mr Foley, a leading member of the Left faction.
Mr Daley said the caucus ballot had been shaping up as “tight”, but he was not expected to emerge the victor.
“Having spoken to my colleagues over the last few days … in the interests of party unity I have decided to withdraw from the ballot,” he said on Tuesday.
Previous contender Steve Whan has also withdrawn and deputy leader Linda Burney will not stand. It means Mr Foley will be elected unopposed, unless a new challenger emerges, which is unlikely.
The Labor leadership has been thrown into turmoil just three months out from the state election, following John Robertson’s resignation over revelations he signed a letter of request for Lindt cafe gunman Man Haron Monis in 2011 as his local MP.
NSW general secretary Jamie Clements, who leads the Right faction, is supporting Foley into the leadership. Mr Daley did not directly address the question of head office support for Mr Foley, but in a thinly veiled swipe said: “they have made history today in the way they approached this ballot”.
Mr Daley congratulated Mr Foley on his impending election, saying they met a few days ago and agreed to conduct a “clean and positive” leadership campaign.
“Luke is a formidable character, he has been a leader of people his whole life. He joined the Labor Party for the same reason I did which was to represent ordinary people – mums and dads and families who get up and go to work everyday and who just want better services … services that the government is failing to deliver.”
A lower house seat must still be found for Mr Foley, who is an upper house MP. Auburn MP Barbara Perry has been under pressure to withdraw from preselection in her seat to make way for Mr Foley, but she has so far refused to do so.
Some Labor Left MPs have harboured concerns about Mr Foley’s social conservatism, including his opposition to gay marriage
Greens NSW MP John Kaye said Mr Foley’s inevitable win was “one step backwards on same-sex marriage … it is a shame Labor cannot get itself a leader who has fully developed progressive politics”.
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