Member for Keira Ryan Park says he won’t pursue a leadership role in the NSW Labor Party on the back of Opposition Leader Luke Foley’s resignation amid a sexual harassment allegation.
Mr Foley announced his resignation on Thursday afternoon, after ABC journalist Ashleigh Raper aired details of an incident in which the politician allegedly put his hand inside her underwear at a 2016 parliamentary Christmas after-party in Sydney's CBD.
On Friday morning, Mr Park refused to weigh into the specifics of the case, which is subject to potential legal action, but did stress Mr Foley “made the right decision” to step down as NSW Labor Leader.
“As a man, but as a leader in the community, I condemn wholeheartedly any form of sexual harassment against anybody,” the MP said.
“It should be called out and it shouldn’t take place.”
Mr Park has thrown his support behind the party’s current deputy, Michael Daley, to replace Mr Foley as leader and Upper House MLC Penny Sharpe to become the new deputy.
Labor’s caucus will meet at Parliament House on Saturday to elect the new leadership team.
“I’ll be supporting Michael for a number of reasons. I believe as deputy leader we need someone to guide us through what is a very difficult period in a calm, cool and measured way,” he said.
In terms of his own position, Mr Park said he was “happy to continue to serve as the Shadow Treasurer”.
“But that is something that Michael as the leader will decide, if Michael is elected as our leader,” he said.
“I’ve always said my favourite job is the Member for Keira, that hasn’t changed, that will always be the case.
“It’s been an honour to be the shadow treasurer and if I continue to be given that opportunity to do so I would do it to the best of my ability over the next few months.
“We’ve got a very, very tight and tough election [in March].”
Asked if he considered putting his hand up for the top job, Mr Park said: “No, I didn’t.”
“I had a number of colleagues talk to me about that and ask me about that. I believe at the moment though the best person to lead us during this period is Michael Daley,” he said.
“I think he’s got the skills, the knowledge, the energy to make sure that we are on the best possible footing and we are doing what we are expected to do and that is focusing on the communities of NSW, the men and women of NSW who have given us the privilege to be their elected representatives in the oldest Parliament in this country.”
Mr Park said he was supportive of Ms Sharpe becoming deputy Labor Leader.
“Penny’s a very hardworking friend of mine,” he said.