New Opposition Leader Michael Daley has called for New South Wales politics to be reset after an ABC journalist was dragged into the spotlight over an allegation against former Labor leader Luke Foley.
Mr Foley quit and threatened to sue the ABC after journalist Ashleigh Raper on Thursday released a statement alleging he put his hands down her underwear at a Christmas party two years ago.
She was forced to detail the allegation after Corrective Services Minister David Elliott weaponised rumours of the allegation to damage Labor months out from the election.
Mr Daley, a day after being elected Labor leader on Saturday, called Mr Elliott a “craven character” and said the mudslinging needed to stop.
“I’ve said to [Premier] Gladys Berejiklian very clearly: ‘When I lead my team on the floor of the NSW Parliament next Tuesday, we will be throwing no mud’,” he told ABC’s Insiders program.
“The people of NSW don’t elect their politicians to have them behave like buffoons in Parliament and pretend they’re playing football. It is not a sport. It is serious business.”
Mr Elliott was heavily criticised for raising the allegation in Parliament last month and setting off scrutiny that forced Ms Raper to go public.
He apologised on Saturday for causing her hurt.
“It was completely unintentional,” he said, in his second statement following Mr Foley’s resignation.
“I have every intention of respecting Ms Raper’s wishes and letting her get on with her life and will be making no further comments.”
Mr Daley said he did not believe the apology was genuine.
“He knew what he was doing. He is a craven character, a hard nut and I think he has dragged the whole parliamentary system into disrepute.
“I want to reset that as new leader. We can’t continue to go on like this.”
"I think he has dragged the whole parliamentary system into disrepute. I want to reset that," says @michaeldaleyMP of the latest controversy within the NSW Parliament. #insiders #auspol pic.twitter.com/wIDMFOwJv0
— Insiders ABC (@InsidersABC) November 10, 2018
Mr Daley said he was “deeply unhappy” with Mr Foley’s response on Thursday and has openly said he believes Ms Raper.
He was elected at a caucus meeting on Saturday with 33 out of 45 votes against Chris Minns.
Environment and Heritage Minister Penny Sharpe was elected Deputy Leader unopposed.
Who is Michael Daley?
Mr Daley, 53, a father of four, on Sunday described himself as a “family man” from the suburbs.
“The people of the suburbs put me here. I am from the suburbs. I didn’t join the Labor Party until the age of 27 and Paul Keating inspired me to get into politics,” he said.
Mr Daley, from the Labor right faction, said his first job was as a paperboy. He worked as a customs officer for 13 years.
He was admitted to practise as a lawyer in NSW in 1998 and worked as a senior corporate corporate lawyer at NRMA Motoring & Services.
He was on Randwick City Council for 13 years, including four as deputy mayor.
Mr Daley entered state parliament in 2005 when he was elected member for Maroubra in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
He served as roads, police and finance minister under former premiers Nathan Rees and Kristina Kenneally.
On Sunday he denied an accusation that he was drunk in Parliament in 2012 made him the wrong person for the job.
“I learnt a very good lesson that night six years ago in 2012. The only way to protect yourself from allegations that you had had a few drinks when you walked into Parliament was to have none. Since that day six years ago, if Parliament is sitting, I’m a teetotaller,” he told Insiders.
He had been ejected from the chamber at 2.30am after an altercation and later apologised and admitted to “having a couple of drinks”, but denied being inebriated.
On Saturday, Mr Daley listed his policy priorities as reducing tolls on western Sydney roads, driving down energy bills through renewable energy, providing jobs to the suburbs and regions, and making Sydney more liveable.
He also promised to fight the government’s “wasteful” investment in stadiums and divert funds to TAFE, schools and hospitals while striking a better deal for “forgotten” regional voters.
Mr Foley quit as Labor leader on Thursday and on Friday said he would leave politics altogether at the March election.