Jodi McKay elected as Labor leader in NSW means two women in top jobs

Jodi McKay elected as Labor leader in NSW

Jodi McKay & Gladys Berejeklian
For the first time in NSW’s history two women will serve in Parliament as Opposition Leader and Premier, following Jodi McKay‘s election as NSW Labor leader.

The former journalist and Strathfield MP was successful in securing the party leadership after defeating Kogarah MP Chris Minns 29 votes to 21 in the caucus. McKay received 63% of the rank-and-file votes cast by more than 11,000 party members.

It’s been reported as the largest leadership election in NSW in about 70 years and comes after Labor’s loss in the polls in the March state election.

In November of 2018 the then-leader Luke Foley resigned after allegations of sexual harassment levelled at him by an ABC reporter became public. Michael Daley took over from Foley but after losing the state election said he would not contest the leadership.

On Sunday, in her first press conference as leader McKay described herself as “more than a match” for the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

“[But] I think we’re very different,” she added.

McKay served as a junior minister in the Rees and Keneally governments before losing the 2011 election that saw Labor lose power after 16 year.  In 2015 McKay returned to state politics as the MP for Strathfield after an Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry into illegal donations found she had been the victim of a campaign to defeat her.

McKay, 49, is a former journalist and Newcastle MP, who served as a junior minister in the Rees and Keneally governments before losing at the landslide 2011 election that swept Labor from power after 16 years in government.

She returned to parliament in 2015 as the MP for the Sydney suburb of Strathfield after an Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry into illegal donations found she had been the victim of a campaign to defeat her.

The Premier, Berejiklian, was critical of the time it took Labor to elect a new leader but acknowledged the significance of having two women in the leadership positions.

“In Queensland, we have a Premier and Opposition Leader who are female, we’ve got a new Opposition Leader in WA who is female so we are seeing really important strides moving forward and that’s always a healthy thing.”

Will having two women at the top create change? Here’s hoping it does.

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