An Open Letter to Luke Foley

To Mr Luke Foley,

In light of recent events, I write this to you to express my disappointment in your actions and express the need for change within the mindset of our political leaders.

You have now resigned as both NSW opposition leader and from NSW parliament, following sexual harassment allegations. Although you deny these claims, we celebrate your resignation – for how can we support a leader who acts this way? I think it is appropriate to remind ourselves that actions speak louder than words.

The claims were made by Ashleigh Raper, an ABC reporter, who was allegedly indecently harassed by you at a Christmas party in 2016.

According to Ms Raper, Mr Foley “put his hand through a gap in the back of [her] dress and inside [her] underpants. He rested his hand on [her] buttocks.”

I ask you Mr Foley, is this ever appropriate behaviour?

What was your excuse? You stated, “I’m not a philanderer, I’m not a groper, I’m just a drunk idiot.”

I pose you another question: is being a “drunk idiot” an excuse for indecently assaulting a woman, Mr Foley?

To our Australian politicians in both the NSW and federal parliament, was it necessary to bring this claim to light using parliamentary privilege?

Ms Raper has now had her claim – that she had wished to keep confidential since 2016 – aired to the Australian public due to “political point scoring” that occurs within parliament.

Foley journalist
Image: ABC News

Ms Raper has stated, “It is clear to me that a woman who is the subject of such behaviour is often the person who suffers once a complaint is made.” I would venture to state after the events of the past week, and year following the actions of our politicians, these women have suffered the most.

So, I ask, why publicise claims that were not yours to make, to parliament and further to the Australian public, forcing Ms Raper into a position where she needed to defend her claims publicly. 

Ms Raper’s claims were aired without her involvement or her consent, and now she is at the forefront of Australian media. Did you think about the impact this might have on her, Mr Foley? 

We support Ashleigh Raper and the turmoil she is experiencing.

We ask our Australian politicians, in light of actions by men such as Geoffrey Rush, Barnaby Joyce and now Luke Foley to think about their actions. They must use their power with respect and purpose. 

In the future we hope to see less of these actions, but also allow the victim to voice their claim on their own terms, and not to be used as a political pawn.

We wish to see change in the mindsets and actions of our leaders.