Luke Foley has 'no excuses' on allegations says Shorten
Bill Shorten has described the alleged behaviour of former New South Wales Opposition Leader, Luke Foley, as “clearly improper” and “inappropriate” in his first comments about the scandal.
Mr Shorten said such actions “cannot be tolerated” and there are “no excuses”.
“Modern society has no tolerance for the behaviour described,” Mr Shorten said, a short time after Mr Foley resigned.
And, Mr Shorten said ABC journalist, Ashleigh Raper, who made the allegations in a statement yesterday, needs and deserves “our support and understanding”.
After months of speculation and rumour, Ms Raper issued a statement detailing the alleged behaviour, at Christmas drinks.
She said she “froze” when Mr Foley allegedly placed his hand inside her dress and underwear.
Mr Foley dramatically resigned the leadership late yesterday, but continues to deny the allegations, and has retained solicitors and senior counsel to begin defamation action in the Federal Court.
No formal complaint has been made, but The Australian is reporting NSW police have spoken to ABC management.
The newspaper says police have said the claim would be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated if Ms Raper makes a complaint.
The journalist said Mr Foley rang her on Sunday, confirmed the incident, said he wasn’t “a groper” just a “drunk idiot”, and would resign this week.
He rang a few days later, she said, and said he wouldn’t be resigning after legal advice.
Ms Raper had been reluctant to go public, fearing she’d be victimised and out of concern for her young family, but said such behaviour must stop, and “women should be able to go about their professional lives and socialise without being the subject of this sort of behaviour”.
The Labor caucus will tomorrow elect a replacement leader, just months out from the state election.
Given the threat of legal action, Mr Shorten was reluctant to discuss the matter in much more detail.
“Furthermore the journalist in question has previously said that she didn’t want this matter to be the subject or the grist of public commentary,” Mr Shorten said.