NSW Labor leader Michael Daley apologises for foreign workers comment


NSW Labor leader Michael Daley has been captured on video claiming young people were leaving Sydney and being replaced by foreigners who were "moving in and taking their jobs".

NSW Labor leader Michael Daley hopes no one was offended when he said young people were being forced to "flee" Sydney because their jobs were being taken by educated Asian migrants.

The Opposition leader on Tuesday issued a qualified apology after comments he made in the Blue Mountains in September emerged.

"Our young children will flee and who are they being replaced with? They are being replaced by young people from typically Asia with PhDs," the then-deputy Labor leader told the Politics in the Pub function in Wentworth Falls.

Michael Daley: Asian immigrants are taking the jobs of young Australians
Michael Daley: Asian immigrants are taking the jobs of young Australians

"So there's a transformation happening in Sydney now where our kids are moving out and foreigners are moving in and taking their jobs".

He later explained it wasn't bad because Asian children were coming to work in Sydney but it was bad because "I'd like my daughter to be living in Maroubra rather than St Kilda [in Melbourne]" the Daily Telegraph reported.

Mr Daley on Tuesday said he had been discussing housing affordability and a desire to ensure "all of our children" could continue to live in Sydney if they chose.

"Many are being forced to leave Sydney because of high cost of living and property prices, notwithstanding some recent declines," he told reporters.

NSW Labor leader Michael DaleyThe remarks, made at a “politics in the pub’’ session in the electorate of Blue Mountains.
The remarks, made at a “politics in the pub’’ session in the electorate of Blue Mountains.

"In making these points, I could have expressed myself better. I could have chosen better words. There's no doubt about that. Not offence was meant and I hope none has been taken."

Mr Daley then doubled-down on the issue of housing affordability. 

"But whilst all of that is clear and the intentions of my comments were clear, I just want to say that housing affordability in Sydney is a massive issue," he said.

"That's the point I want to make here. Everyone, regardless of where they come from, or what their background is, deserves the opportunity to live in Sydney."

"At the moment, what has happened in Sydney is housing prices have risen so much that there's a whole generation of people who cannot afford to live there."

Earlier Tuesday, he issued a statement saying; "I apologise if any offence is taken".

NSW Greens MP for Newtown Jenny Leong condemned the comments.

"I am sickened by these comments. I am scared by these comments," she tweeted.

"Inciting racism and fear has real consequences. This is shameful stuff."

Mr Daley's predecessor Luke Foley was wildly criticised in 2018 when he used the term "white flight" when referring to struggling western Sydney suburbs.

Additional reporting: AAP

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