Country Labor candidate for Dubbo Stephen Lawrence has thrown his support behind a reporter who has accused former NSW Labor leader Luke Foley of indecent conduct.
Mr Foley quit on Thursday night after Ms Raper released a statement claiming he put his hand inside her underwear at a 2016 parliamentary Christmas after-party in Sydney's CBD.
Ms Raper gave her version of the alleged drunken behaviour after Liberal MP David Elliott raised the issue in October under parliamentary privilege.
"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," she alleged.
Mr Foley vehemently denies the allegations and plans to launch defamation proceedings in the Federal Court.
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Mr Lawrence said he would send Mr Foley’s replacement an updated briefing paper on Dubbo “to make sure they are as on top of our issues as Luke was”.
“I have a lot of respect for Ms Raper and her powerful statement,” Mr Lawrence said.
“She reminds us that woman have a right to be free of objectification and mistreatment, but also a right to control how events involving such allegations are responded to.
“That control was taken from Ms. Raper and that is extremely unfortunate.
“We need a better politics and a better society than this.”
Current deputy leader Michael Daley confirmed he would throw his hat in the ring for the leadership when the Labor caucus meets on Saturday.
He threw his support behind Ms Raper, saying “she did the right thing, she did the brave thing”.