News State NSW News Luke Foley’s career ‘dead’ after ABC journalist confirms misconduct allegations

Luke Foley’s career ‘dead’ after ABC journalist confirms misconduct allegations

NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley has denied the allegations.
NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley has denied the allegations, but will not sue. Photo: AAP
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Luke Foley’s career as NSW Labor leader is “dead” after an ABC journalist detailed an allegation of inappropriate touching at a 2016 Christmas party.

Journalist Ashleigh Raper on Thursday released a statement alleging Mr Foley put his hand down a slit in her dress and touched her buttocks.

She said she was forced into speaking out after Corrections Minister David Elliott made a reference to alleged harassment in Parliament last month.

Mr Foley has repeatedly denied the allegations.

A NSW Labor MP on Thursday told The New Daily: “Foley is dead.”

The source said MPs in both left and right factions were doing the numbers to back Deputy Leader Michael Daley for the leadership.

“He already has the numbers. The support is because we believe he will provide stability and his depth of experience.”

Mr Foley is expected to resign “soon”, the source said on Thursday afternoon. A caucus meeting will be called, allowing time for country MPs to attend to elect a new leader.

Ms Raper said Mr Foley called her on Sunday to apologise and told her he planned to resign as opposition leader.

“He told me that he wanted to talk to me about that night on many occasions over the past two years because, while he was drunk and couldn’t remember all the details of the night, he knew he did something to offend me,” Ms Raper said in her statement.

“He apologised again and told me, ‘I’m not a philanderer, I’m not a groper, I’m just a drunk idiot’.”

abc journalist ashleigh raper
Ashleigh Raper is an experienced journalist in the ABC’s Sydney newsroom. Photo: ABC 

He called again on Tuesday to say he would not be resigning on legal advice, she said.

Mr Foley has publicly insisted he would take Labor to the election in March.

Ms Raper alleged Mr Foley touched her at a Martin Place bar during a press gallery Christmas function in 2016.

“He put his hand through a gap in the back of my dress and inside my underpants,” she alleged.

He rested his hand on my buttocks. I completely froze.”

Sean Nicholls, an ABC journalist who was then state political editor for The Sydney Morning Herald, witnessed the alleged incident.

Ms Raper said she was forced to make a statement after it was raised in Parliament.

“This occurred without my involvement or consent.

“It is clear to me that a woman who is the subject of such behaviour is often the person who suffers once a complaint is made.”

There were three things she wanted to come from her decision to detail the allegation.

“First, women should be able to go about their professional lives and socialise without being subject to this sort of behaviour.

“And I want it to stop.

“Second, situations like mine should not be discussed in Parliament for the sake of political point scoring.

“And I want it to stop.

“Third, I want to get on with my life.”

The ABC said it was “extremely unfortunate” Ms Raper had been forced to speak publicly on the allegation.

In a statement, the broadcaster said management became aware of the claim after media enquiries in April.

The ABC said it offered her support and respected her wishes not to make a formal complaint, the statement said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the allegations as “shocking”.

“I think they’re shocking allegations and you know there’ll be a process here … from the allegations and what’s been presented it’s very, very disturbing. It’s quite shocking,” he said.

The New Daily contacted Mr Foley’s office.