Foley threatens to dish dirt on Liberal ministers

LUKE Foley sensationally threatened to dish dirt on the personal lives of five government ministers in ­rejecting calls to stand aside from the Labor leadership while he faces an harassment investigation.

As the ABC committed to investigate allegations Mr Foley drunkenly harassed one of its reporters in 2016, the NSW Labor leader faced calls to apply the same standard which the party applied to backbench MP Hugh McDermott, who stood aside from a leadership position while investigated - and later cleared - over harassment earlier this year.

Prospect MP Hugh McDermott stood aside from a leadership position while investigated — and later cleared — over harassment earlier this year. Picture: AAP
Prospect MP Hugh McDermott stood aside from a leadership position while investigated — and later cleared — over harassment earlier this year. Picture: AAP

Multiple Labor MPs last night said privately they wanted Mr Foley replaced as leader to end the distraction, but conceded there could be no move against him without a complaint from the journalist at the centre of the allegations.

Roads Minister Melinda Pavey launched an attack in Question Time yesterday declaring: "He should stand aside while there's an investigation into him.

"He asked the member for Prospect to stand aside; he should do the same."

 

Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey during Question Time on Wednesday. Picture: AAP
Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey during Question Time on Wednesday. Picture: AAP

 

Mr Foley's spokesman simply told The Telegraph "there is no complaint" against the Labor leader.

However, in Question Time, a clearly enraged Mr Foley retaliated after Ms Pavey's remarks with threats to unload on the private lives of Berejiklian government ministers.

Taking to the lecturn, Mr Foley gestured wildly as he delivered the ultimatum.

"We would welcome such a debate but we would amend it to talk about you and you and you and you," he yelled, forcefully pointing his finger at the ministers one at a time.

 

New South Wales State Opposition Leader Luke Foley during Question Time on Wednesday. Picture: AAP
New South Wales State Opposition Leader Luke Foley during Question Time on Wednesday. Picture: AAP

 

The Opposition Leader pointed to several Berejiklian ministers during Question Time on Wednesday. Picture: AAP
The Opposition Leader pointed to several Berejiklian ministers during Question Time on Wednesday. Picture: AAP

 

The Daily Telegraph has been briefed by a Labor spokesman that Mr Foley pointed to ministers Pavey, ­Andrew Constance, David Elliott and Deputy Premier John Barilaro.

He then also threatened Innovation Minister Matt Kean, in a heated exchange after Question Time ended.

NSW Minister for Transport Andrew Constance. Picture: AAP
NSW Minister for Transport Andrew Constance. Picture: AAP

Mr Kean told Parliament that Mr Foley would "do anything" to save his job. "He will bully his colleagues, he will try to sue the press gallery just to buy their ­silence," he said. "He will even lie to save his job."

 

New South Wales Deputy Premier John Barilaro during Question Time on Wednesday. Picture: AAP
New South Wales Deputy Premier John Barilaro during Question Time on Wednesday. Picture: AAP

 

Mr Foley then lashed Mr Kean for not going further: "You didn't have the guts to go on with it. Don't let fear hold you back Matt. We haven't started on you yet."

Innovation and Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean during Question Time on Wednesday. Picture: AAP
Innovation and Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean during Question Time on Wednesday. Picture: AAP

Labor MPs are privately discussing the future of their leader but have expressed frustration at the impasse concerning the journalist.

"It's a massive distraction," one Shadow minister said. "He's on the front page of the paper for all the wrong reasons. But he's not going to stand down voluntarily and how can we go him without evidence."

Another said: "If (the ­reporter) complains or confirms, he's dead."

Minister for Corrections, and Minister for Veterans Affairs David Elliott was also pointed at. Picture: Brianne Makin
Minister for Corrections, and Minister for Veterans Affairs David Elliott was also pointed at. Picture: Brianne Makin