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Jodi McKay steps down as NSW Labor leader

Jodi McKay (right) on the campaign trail with Upper Hunter candidate Jeff Drayton (left). Following his loss, Ms. McKay's leadership was thrown into question. Photo: Twitter/Jodi McKay

By ALLISON HORE

Following a crisis meeting over the NSW Labor leadership on Friday morning, Jodi McKay has resigned as state Labor leader. The decision comes after a week of speculation over her position.

Ms. McKay had held the position of state Opposition Leader since 2019 but in an emotional press conference today, Ms. McKay announced she would be stepping back from the role on her own accord. 

“I do this with a very heavy heart. I do this even though I have the support of our caucus,” she said.

“No one has asked me to stand aside, in fact, colleagues asked me to stay.”

Ms. McKay said she has the support of her party and felt if a ballot were to be held today she would retain her position as party leader. But she said though she “always tried to build consensus” within the party, there was always a faction “who have never accepted the outcome of that process.”

Pressure on Ms. McKay’s leadership mounted following her party’s loss in the by-election in the seat of Upper Hunter. 

“For me, leadership must always be about the institution, and also about how you respond to its successes and also its difficulties,” she explained.

“Leadership is about knowing when to step up but also when to step down.”

Ms. McKay said over her short term as Labor leader she has worked hard to reshape the party’s message in the lead up to the next state election, but felt stepping aside would be the best way to “unite” the struggling party. 

She said in order for the party to find success, she says there “has to be a future where there is no destabilising of the party’s leader from within.”

“Success requires patience, it requires forgiveness and it requires constant dialogue with the community as well as ourselves. I want to apologise to those who wished I had stayed, but this is the only way that I know I can unite our party,” she said. 

“I have spent the last six days reflecting on how to achieve unity, and I believe that this offers the party the best opportunity to heal and to move forward.”

“We have to work to win government in 2023, because New South Wales deserves no less.”

More to come.

 

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