NSW Labor leadership likely to go to vote

·3-min read

A drawn-out battle for the NSW Labor leadership is on the cards after Michael Daley secured enough MPs' signatures to nominate for the top job.

The MP for Maroubra, who held the leadership for four months in 2019, confirmed on Wednesday that 15 MPs had signed on to support his nomination.

His determination to run means there's slim chance of reaching a consensus with rival Chris Minns ahead of the close of nominations on Sunday.

Mr Minns is confident he'll have more than 15 signatures by the time nominations open at a special caucus meeting on Friday morning.

Under new rules brought in five years ago, more than one candidate for the top job leads to a lengthy rank and file ballot.

Mr Daley and Kogarah MP Mr Minns emerged as the competitors after under-pressure Jodi McKay quit the leadership last week.

Mr Minns has signalled he wants to resolve the leadership issue quickly, warning that otherwise the 2023 election could be "a write-off".

"One thing I am worried about is that the people of this state think that we're just focused on ourselves ... that we're just navel-gazing and we don't care about them," he told Sydney radio 2GB on Wednesday.

"If that image persists then we're in big trouble and 2023's a write-off."

Mr Daley said he wants to do the ballot online and as quickly as possible to avoid the leadership battle becoming a distraction.

But he said a ballot wasn't "a fearful thing".

The Labor MP was talking up his experience in government and his credentials in holding the government to account on Wednesday.

"I fight Tories, that's what I do," he told reporters at a press conference he called to criticise the government's "scam" accounting over its rail network.

Mr Minns' message has been about providing a positive alternative, rather than trying to attack a popular government during a pandemic.

But Mr Daley said the job of the opposition was to hold the government to account.

"Otherwise what you have is a third world system with governments who just do and say whatever they want," he said.

"If you don't want the opposition to do their job, then just have Vladimir Putin as the premier of NSW and let him do his thing."

Mr Minns later said that "inflammatory language" would leave the people of NSW shaking their heads.

"They want the Labor Party to be offering positive and optimistic solutions for the future of the state," he said.

Mr Minns went to Rooty Hill in western Sydney to visit a steel manufacturing plant on Wednesday.

He said his government would support domestic manufacturing and develop "good, well-paying, middle-class jobs".

Labor colleagues to go public with their support for Mr Minns on Wednesday include natural resources spokesman Paul Scully as well as backbenchers Rose Jackson, Courtney Houssos, Guy Zangari and Hugh McDermott.

Upper house frontbenchers John Graham and Tara Moriarty are expected to join in supporting Mr Minns - despite neither having previously supported him in a leadership ballot.

Mr Daley and Mr Minns previously competed for the role in November 2018, when Mr Daley became party leader for just four months before losing the 2019 election.

Nominations are open for 48 hours, meaning the new leader could be selected by Sunday if one contender drops out and nobody else puts their hand up.

The last time the process played out - to confirm Ms McKay as leader - it took about five weeks.

And if the contest does go to a ballot, the interim leader will have to give the opposition's reply after the state budget is handed down on June 22.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting