Former NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley has backed down on his threat to sue the ABC over the sexual harassment allegations aired by journalist Ashleigh Raper that led to his political downfall.
Mr Foley resigned earlier this month in a fiery press conference, in which he denied he put his hand down ABC reporter Ashleigh Raper’s dress at a 2016 Christmas party.
He threatened to sue the ABC over the allegations, which were made public in a statement by Raper on November 8.
Mr Foley has decided not to proceed with legal action, saying “it’s in no one’s interests for the matter to be the subject of long-running court proceedings and I won’t put everyone through this”.
NSW Corrections Minister David Elliott put pressure on Mr Foley in October when he used parliamentary privilege to make the accusations against Mr Foley.
However, he did not name Raper.
In her statement Raper said she had not wanted to speak out about the incident, but had been forced to because it had been put in the public domain.
Mr Foley’s statement is at odds with his brief but defiant November 8 press conference, where he claimed “the allegations against me today, made public by the ABC, are false”.
“I’ve retained solicitors and senior counsel to advise on the immediate commencement of defamation proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia.”
The ABC understands since his explosive resignation on November 8, senior Labor figures have counselled him not to go ahead with the legal proceedings, saying it would be politically damaging to the party.
The NSW Election is less than four months away.