Two women will go head-to-head in NSW politics after Jodi McKay was crowned the Labor party’s new leader.
The Strathfield MP emphatically won the ballot on what she said was “a significant day in Labor’s journey back to government”.
Labor’s new leader will take the fight to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, the first time two women will face off in NSW parliament as premier and opposition leader.
Ms McKay claimed 60.5 per cent of the vote against Chris Minns, some three months after Michael Daley quit as leader following the party’s state election loss.
Ms McKay secured 29 votes to Mr Minns’ 21 in the caucus, and received 63 per cent of 10,822 rank-and-file votes.
“I want to thank each and every member of the Labor Party who took part in this history-making process,” she said in a statement on Saturday night.
“From our oldest life members to the newest of Labor recruits, to our trade union members – this contest has energised our movement.”
Mr Minns and Ms McKay, both from the party’s right faction, were earlier flanked by supporters as they made their way into the Labor caucus’s secret ballot at NSW Parliament House.
Shadow treasurer Ryan Park and Julia Finn were among nearly a dozen to back Ms McKay while Courtney Houssos and Walt Secord were among 13 trailing Mr Minns.
The meeting was not without drama, with Bankstown MP Tania Mihailuk and upper house MP Mark Buttigieg heard exchanging heated words outside the party room.
Mr Minns, who ran unsuccessfully for the leadership last year, congratulated Ms McKay on “an overwhelming result” and said she deserved the victory.
“I’ve seen her up close over the past month and her debating skills, mastery of policy and experience are what NSW Labor needs to win,” the Kogarah MP said in a statement.
“My job now is to work with her to see a Labor government in NSW in 2023 and be a loyal member of her united team.”
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet was quick to offer a backhanded message of congratulations, wishing McKay well but saying she faced an “impossible task”.
“It was not the leader that was the Labor Party’s problem, it was its out of touch policies and values,” he said.
The leadership ballot, which was delayed until after the federal election to avoid distracting from Bill Shorten’s campaign, was the first of its kind for NSW Labor.
During her campaign, Ms McKay highlighted her “record of standing up to powerful and vested interests” and said she could beat Premier Gladys Berejiklian at the 2023 state poll.
She said reaching out to rural NSW, western Sydney and multicultural communities would be a priority under her leadership and education policy was a “critical issue”.