The new Labor leader in Macquarie Street

November 12, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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NSW Labor frontbencher and NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel deputy chair Walt Secord has welcomed the election of Maroubra MP Michael Daley and Upper House MLC Penny Sharpe as leader and deputy leader of the NSW Labor Party – respectively – saying they will be concentrating on NSW domestic affairs rather than foreign affairs.

Labor leader Michael Daley with Ron Hoenig

Mr Secord said he looked forward to working with Mr Daley and Ms Sharpe who join him in being  “deeply committed to fighting racism and intolerance and working with the various community groups to build a tolerant and cohesive society”.

They both were elected by the NSW Labor caucus on Saturday, November 10 in Sydney at State Parliament.

Mr Daley is well-known to his local Jewish community. He recently oversaw a grant of $48,000 to the Kingsford-Maroubra Synagogue so it can upgrade its kosher kitchen and in 2017, he oversaw the granting of $20,000 to help upgrade Mount Sinai College school’s recreational areas. Recently, he attended the 70th anniversary of Maroubra Synagogue along with Heffron MP Ron Hoenig, who is a member of Kingsford-Maroubra Synagogue and Mr Secord and last month’s Shabbat service with the Labor Israel Action Committee (LIAC) at the shule.

Ms Sharpe who is the State’s first openly gay female MP is active in anti-racism and anti-discrimination causes. “Ms Sharpe is a champion in the fight against discrimination in our community. She is a trailblazer,” Mr Secord said

In recent years, she has attended services – which reached out to NSW’s LGBTQI community – at the Great Synagogue as well as speaking at the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies’ boardroom luncheon speaker series.

Michael Daley and Penny Sharpe

Mr Secord said: “NSW Labor leader Michael Daley has made it clear that he is running for Premier of NSW and will rarely making `interventions’ into foreign affairs. His entire focus will be on improving the lives of families and businesses in NSW.”

“Foreign affairs is a matter for the national government in Canberra – and not a State Parliament.”

“NSW Labor will be concentrating on fixing NSW – as the Berejiklian Government has been pursuing the wrong priorities like stadiums over schools and schools.

“There is so much work to be done in NSW – and  Michael Daley, Penny Sharpe and our Labor team will be pursuing a positive agenda.

“We will be concentrating on bread and butter issues like health and hospital waiting lists for elective surgery which have spiralled out of control;  education and lifting literacy levels in our State and teaching our young people a second language; cost of living pressures on working families and congestion in Sydney and  creating policies that will help drought-affected rural and regional families.”

“It is time to draw a line in the sand and lift the standards of public life in NSW. NSW Labor is about a positive agenda and positive plans for the future of the State.”

Mr Secord also reiterated NSW Labor’s position to rule out preference deals with One Nation.

Mr Secord said One Nation policies and its leader Pauline Hanson were “divisive” and he criticised Ms Berejiklian for refusing to distance herself from One Nation in the forthcoming State election.

“It is very disappointing to see Gladys Berejiklian cosying up to One Nation – especially when she trots out her personal story as a migrant on every possible occasion. I am very surprised by her actions,” Mr Secord said.

In a November 7 Sydney press conference, Ms Berejiklian was asked seven times whether she would engage in a preference deal with One Nation – and she refused.

During the press conference, Ms Berejiklian was asked what she thought of Mr Latham joining the party during a doorstop in Seven Hills, she said: “We have a healthy democracy here in NSW but my focus is to lead a strong and stable government, my job is to keep delivering on the ground”.

Asked seven times whether the Coalition would consider a deal as voters prepare to head to the polls in March, Ms Berejiklian dodged questions by insisting she is focused on her job, not the “politics of politics”.

Asked whether she was reluctant to rule out a deal because of the possibility of a minority government with One Nation holding the balance of power, Ms Berejiklian said: “I’m focused on my job — I’m not focused on the politics of politics”.

Furthermore, Mr Secord predicted that the Nationals and the conservative side of politics could lose several NSW Upper House seats to One Nation in a Trump-style result from angry rural voters.

“Even before Mark Latham stepped on the stage, the Orange and Wagga by-election results showed that rural voters have their baseball bats poised at the ready for the NSW Coalition. This is why Gladys Berejiklian is refusing to distance herself from One Nation.”

Lesli Berger, president of The New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies, told J-Wire: “The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies congratulates Michael Daley on his appointment as parliamentary leader of NSW Labor. Our community has had a positive and productive relationship with Mr Daley as both the Member for Maroubra and during his terms as Police Minister and Shadow Police Minister. He has been sympathetic to major Jewish institutions in his electorate such as Maroubra Synagogue and Mt Sinai college, especially in regards to security and has spoken out against antisemitism in parliament. We look forward to working with Mr Daley and wish him “best of luck in the new position.

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