New South Wales Labor leader Jodi Mackay has announced she is stepping down from the role following immense pressure over the party’s performance in the Upper Hunter by-election.
Despite the government being engulfed in scandals, the National Party retained the seat with Labor’s primary vote slumping from 28 per cent to just over 20 per cent.
The by-election was triggered by the resignation of Nationals MP Michael Johnsen after it was revealed he was under investigation for raping a sex worker.
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Mr Johnsen has denied the allegations.
Following the by-election loss, Ms Mackay said she was “shell-shocked” that Labor’s vote had gone backwards but vowed she would not resign.
However, after a week of scrutiny, Ms Mackay has fallen on her sword.
“I do this, even though I have the support of my caucus and our wonderful party members. No one has asked me to stand aside, in fact, colleagues have asked me to stay,” Ms Mackay.
“If a ballot was held today I can tell you I would win that ballot.”
Ms Mackay fought back tears as she apologised to her supporters, conceding her resignation gave the party an opportunity to heal.
“Leadership is also about knowing when you step up, and when you step down. Over the last two years, I believe I have worked hard to reshape Labor’s passage in preparation for 2023.
“We have had, as you know, some bumps and bruises along the way.”
Ms Mackay says she will remain in state parliament.
Kogarah MP Chris Minns, who has twice run and lost a leadership contest, is expected to put his hand up again.
Mr Minns resigned from Shadow Cabinet this week after it was revealed a dirt file on him was being distributed amongst Labor MPs by a member of the Deputy Leader’s office.