ABC journalist Ashleigh Raper has made a statement supporting allegations of sexual harassment by NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley against her.
In her statement, Ms Raper said that Mr Foley had inappropriately touched her under her clothing at a press function.
Ms Raper said that she did not wish to make the incident public but felt forced to after the incident had been brought up under parliamentary privilege in both ACT and NSW parliaments.
Mr Foley has previously insisted the claims against him were “lies” and had made a challenge to his political opponents to repeat the claims outside of parliamentary privilege.
In her statement, Ms Raper expressed that she wanted to “get on with my life” and that she did not think incidents like hers should be used for “political point scoring”.
Ms Raper also said that Mr Foley had contacted her privately to apologise for the incident, expressing remorse and that he had wanted to resolve the issue in the 2 years since it had occurred.
Ms Raper said that Mr Foley said “I’m not a groper, I’m just a drunk idiot”. She said that Mr Foley claimed he was drunk when the occasion to place and that he could not recall all the details but acknowledged he had done something wrong.
In the discussion, Ms Raper said that Mr Foley said he would resign soon, but not on Tuesday for fear of being accused of hiding the story behind the Melbourne Cup. She then said she received a call from Mr Foley on Tuesday saying he would no longer resign based on legal advice he had been given.
In an interview on ABC Radio Sydney, Mr Foley said that he had already dealt with the claims “comprehensively” and that he believed the Liberal Government had misused parliamentary privilege.
Ms Raper said that she did not make a public statement about the incident for fear of a media firestorm that would engulf her life and impact her family.
Several Labor MPs have expressed shock and disbelief at the news, distancing themselves from Mr Foley and expressing that Mr Foley’s leadership was now in jeopardy.