NSW Labor leader Luke Foley has resigned from his post as the state’s opposition leader, following the release of a damning statement from an ABC journalist containing allegations of groping and sexual harassment.

In a statement delivered from NSW Parliament House, Foley vehemently denied the allegations and announced he will be launching immediate defamation action against the journalist and the ABC.

In a brief media appearance, in which he did not take questions before leaving in a huff, Foley stated the following:

The allegations against me today, made public by the ABC, are false.

However, I can’t fight to clear my name and fight an election at the same time. Therefore, I’m resigning leadership of the Labor Party effective today.

I’ll be remaining as the member for Auburn, and returning to the backbench.

In a phone call placed this past Sunday night, Foley is alleged to have told ABC journalist Ashleigh Raper that he would be resigning from his post either on Monday (November 5th) or Wednesday (November 7th). However in a subsequent phone call on Tuesday, Foley reneged on that promise to resign citing “legal advice” urging him to remain in his job. It’s this phone that prompted the release of Raper’s statement today, and Foley’s now-subsequent resignation from his position.

Federally, both Bill Shorten and Scott Morrison condemned the allegations, but remained vague and indecisive in their public statements on the matter, with both asserting it was a matter for Foley and Foley alone.

Behind closed doors, however, whisper suggests officials now believe Foley’s career is dead in the water, and that not only is his job as NSW Labor leader untenable, but his entire presence in Parliament is as well.

Raper’s statement, issued via the ABC, recounted how Foley allegedly put his hand inside her underpants and groped her bare buttock at a boozy Christmas function for state politicians, staff, and reporters.

This is what happened on that night.

The party moved from Parliament House to Martin Place Bar after a number of hours.

Later in the evening, Luke Foley approached a group of people, including me, to say goodnight.

He stood next to me.

He put his hand through a gap in the back of my dress and inside my underpants.

He rested his hand on my buttocks.

I completely froze.

Raper also detailed how she did not initially report the incident for fear of the storm it would create in her personal life, and how questioning from other media outlets earlier this year, and NSW Liberal MP David Elliott raising the issue in Parliament as a political weapon, forced Raper’s story into the spotlight without her consent.

When a reporter contacted me earlier this year after hearing about the incident, I informed ABC news management about Mr Foley’s actions.

I told them I didn’t wish to make a complaint or for any further action to be taken.

They respected my request for privacy and have offered me nothing but their absolute care and support.

David Elliot raised the matter in the New South Wales parliament last month, putting the incident in the public domain.

The matter then became a state and federal political issue and resulted in intense media attention.

This occurred without my involvement or consent.

Raper’s statement concluded with a three-point assertion on why she decided to come forward this afternoon, and it eloquently and decisively cuts to the core of the issue.

There are three things I want to come from my decision to make this statement.

First, women should be able to go about their professional lives and socialise without being subject to this sort of behaviour.

And I want it to stop.

Second, situations like mine should not be discussed in parliament for the sake of political point scoring.

And I want it to stop.

Third, I want to get on with my life.

I do not wish to make any further comment.

Shadow opposition leader Michael Daley is now tipped to take over as NSW Labor leader, ahead of a crucial state election scheduled for March 23rd next year.

Image: AAP