Under-siege Labor leader breaks down in tears as she QUITS after embarrassing by-election defeat – with rising star set to replace her
- NSW Labor leader Jodi McKay has resigned after dismal result in Upper Hunter
- Labor to replace her with rising star and transport spokesman Chris Minns
- Ms McKay has struggled to compete with Gladys Berejiklian since June 2019
NSW Labor leader Jodi McKay welled up in an emotional press conference as she announced she was stepping down from the top job.
Ms McKay has been under pressure since a bruising by-election defeat in the Upper Hunter on Saturday in which Labor’s primary vote dropped by seven per cent.
Former transport spokesman Chris Minns, who lost a leadership battle to Ms McKay two years ago, is tipped to run for leader unopposed after he resigned from the frontbench this week.
Chris Minns (right) is raising his three boys with his wife Anna. He is tipped as the next Labor leader
Who is Chris Minns?
Chris Minns, 41, grew up in the St George area of south Sydney.
He went to Kogarah Marist Catholic boys school and the University of New England.
Mr Minns, from the right of the Labor party, was first elected to office in 2004 as a Penshurst Ward Councillor and was deputy mayor in 2007–2008.
He became the member for Kogarah in 2015 and has served as opposition water spokesman and transport spokesman.
He is raising his three boys with his wife Anna.
Ms McKay – who has struggled to compete with the increasingly popular Gladys Berejiklian – insisted no one had demanded her resignation but said it was for the good of the party.
‘I have decided that this offers the party the best opportunity to heal and move forward,’ she said through tears.
‘No one has asked me to stand aside, in fact colleagues have asked me to stay. If a ballot was held today I can tell you I would win ballot.’
However, Ms McKay said there were certain Labor politicians who never accepted her as leader.
‘I have always tried to build consensus within our party, but it is clear that although I was elected leader, there were those within our party who have never accepted that the outcome of that process,’ she said.
‘For me, leadership must almost always be about the institution… leadership is also about knowing when you step up, and when you step down.’
Ms McKay said she would continue to represent Strathfield, in Sydney’s inner west, as a Labor MP.
‘I want to apologise to those who wished I had stayed. But this is the only way that I know that I can unite our party,’ she said.
A supporter of Ms McKay said the leader had endured constant backgrounding and white-anting, where information was leaked to undermine her.
‘The question is now whether you give in to the bullies,’ they said.
Mr Minns on Wednesday declared his position as transport spokesman ‘untenable’ and resigned after a ‘dirt file’ on him was allegedly circulated via the office of deputy leader Yasmin Catley.
He is yet to publicly challenge for the leadership, having said on Wednesday that he needed to speak with his colleagues.
Former transport spokesman Chris Minns (pictured with his family), who lost a leadership battle to Ms McKay two years ago, is tipped to run for leader unopposed
Rising star Chris Minns is expected to be elected unopposed as the NSW Labor leader
Ms McKay has insisted neither she nor Ms Catley knew anything about the ‘dirt file’ and the staffer who distributed it has been removed.
In the Upper Hunter by election on Saturday, Labor’s first preference vote plunged from 28 per cent to 21 per cent as the Nationals were returned with 31 per cent of primary votes, a small drop from 34 per cent in 2019.
Ms McKay, who was hoping to win the marginal coal-mining seat following the resignation of Nationals MP Michael Johnsen due to allegations he raped a sex worker which he denies, admitted the result was ‘terrible’.
Ms McKay said she would continue to represent Strathfield, in Sydney’s inner west, as a Labor MP