New NSW Labor leader sick of mudslinging

 news.com.au  11/10/2018 11:16:27 PM  3

Labor's freshly-minted leader Michael Daley has called on NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to help him rein in mudslinging MPs and clean up state parliament after a tumultuous week.

The move on Sunday came a day after the Liberal MP accused of unleashing the scandal that claimed Luke Foley's leadership apologised to the reporter at the centre of the allegations.

Mr Daley spent the weekend outlining his priorities ahead of the March election following his promotion to the top position on Saturday afternoon

He won 33 of 45 votes in a caucus meeting, after Mr Foley resigned amid sexual harassment allegations while Penny Sharpe was elected unopposed as Mr Daley's deputy.

In a press conference following his victory, Mr Daley said his policy priorities would be reducing tolls on western Sydney roads, driving down energy bills through the growth of renewable energy, providing jobs to the suburbs and regions of NSW, and making Sydney more livable.

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.

But the new leader also wants to enforce a cleaner, less toxic political environment.

Speaking on the ABC, he said he was sick of politicians treating their roles like a football match and behaving "like buffoons in parliament".

"It is not a sport, it is serious business," he said on Sunday.

"I've sent the challenge to Gladys Berejiklian. We're not going to throw mud, we're going to concentrate on policy."

Mr Daley urged the premier to control her ministers and help him "reset the political discourse in NSW".

He also reaffirmed his support for ABC journalist Ashleigh Raper, who alleged Mr Foley put his hand through the back of her dress and groped her at a 2016 Christmas party.

Mr Foley denied the allegation but resigned within hours and won't seek re-election to parliament. He also promised to take legal action against his accuser.

Liberal minister David Elliott was heavily criticised, from inside and outside his own party, for using the scandal to score political points after he aired the allegation in parliament last month.

Mr Elliott said he was "deeply sorry for the hurt" his comments caused to Ms Raper.

"It was completely unintentional," he said in a statement on Saturday.

"I have every intention of respecting Ms Raper's wishes and letting her get on with her life."

Mr Daley, on Sunday, said the action dragged the whole parliament into disrepute.

"We can't continue to go on like this," he said.

He also acknowledged his own dented reputation - in 2012 he was accused of showing up drunk in parliament.

"Since that day six years ago, if parliament is sitting, I'm a teetotaler," he said.

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