A NSW Labor MP has attempted to shut down speculation Opposition Leader Luke Foley will be ousted before the next state election.
Senior NSW Liberal members are confident Mr Foley’s leadership is over and are preparing to instead face deputy leader Michael Daley in the March state election, Fairfax Media reports.
But opposition health spokesman Walt Secord has dismissed any suggestion of a leadership challenge.
“This is a political smear peddled by desperate Liberal ministers and orchestrated by the premier’s office – less than five months from a state election,” Mr Secord said in a statement on Sunday.
“Luke Foley will be the next Labor premier of NSW and [Premier] Gladys Berejiklian will be forced to return to the corporate banking sector in April 2019.”
It’s been a tumultuous week for Mr Foley, who has been responding to allegations he harassed an ABC journalist in 2016.
The accusation was first raised publicly in the lower house nearly two weeks ago by Corrections Minister David Elliott using parliamentary privilege.
Mr Foley hit back in question time on Wednesday and threatened to blow the lid on alleged misbehaviour by state government politicians.
Ms Berejiklian refused to be drawn on a potential change in Labor leadership, insisting any instability was a matter for the opposition.
“I’m focused on running a strong and stable government,” the premier told reporters in Sydney on Sunday.
ABC acting managing director David Anderson told a Senate estimates hearing on Tuesday the organisation was investigating the claim Mr Foley harassed one of its journalists.