Luke Foley has lauded NSW Labor’s renewal and claimed the party is once again a credible opposition following Saturday’s election result.
Speaking to party faithful in Sydney’s inner west, Mr Foley said he expected the defeated Labor party to finish with a number of seats in the mid-30s after winning only 20 at the 2011 poll.
“We’ve gone from a rump in the state parliament to a real opposition,” he told supporters at Dooley’s Catholic Club in Lidcombe alongside his wife Edel McKenna.
“We now have a two-party system; we did not after the 2011 election.
“The next election is now winnable for Labor.”
There was no mention of Premier Mike Baird’s plan to privatise the state’s electricity network, a scheme Mr Foley had previously indicated he’d continue to oppose if he lost the election.
The mood in the Waratah Room at Dooley’s had been subdued as the results rolled in but the atmosphere quickly picked up as Mr Foley was declared the winner in the seat of Auburn.
A group of Somali women erupted in an extended additional cheer as the news broke over the large flat screen television at the back of the room.
There was huge applause for Mr Foley as he declared the overall result had “breathed new life into state Labor” to the crowd of about 150 supporters shortly after 9pm on Saturday.
“Our journey of renewal and change must continue,” he said, after invoking Labor’s heavy 2011 defeat.
He also said he intended to put himself forward again for the Labor leadership, a job he has held for only 83 days.
He showed grace in defeat with his words for Mr Baird.
“Mike Baird took over the leadership of the Liberal Party and the government when his government had entered very stormy waters and he steered the ship to safety,” he said.
The largest cheers of the night came when Mr Foley said Labor will see “nine or 10” women in parliament with Labor elder John Faulkner listening on.