Labor MP posts Chinese apology over Daley’s comments
A KEY Labor frontbencher has broken ranks to issue a heartfelt apology in Mandarin to his local community in a bid to save the crucial Chinese vote as Labor descended into major damage control over Leader Michael Daley's anti-migration comments.
Mr Daley battled both publicly and privately on Tuesday to explain his claim that Asian migrants were taking young people's jobs in Sydney as he came under pressure from members of both the left of the party and those representing multicultural electorates.
Some feared the revelations by The Daily Telegraph that Mr Daley had been caught on video making offensive remarks about Asian migration in the Blue Mountains but praising it in Sydney would alienate the multicultural and progressive voter base which will be key in this tight election.
The Daily Telegraph can now reveal Labor frontbencher Chris Minns wrote a lengthy post on Tuesday in the Chinese social media forum WeChat in which he pledges his commitment to the community.
Mr Minns - who was defeated by Mr Daley in the party's November leadership challenge but is viewed by many in the party as a Labor star - represents the electorate of Kogarah, which has a large Chinese contingency and is held by a 6.8 per cent margin.
"I want to make it clear that I love my community because of its wonderful character and heritage, not despite it," Mr Minns posted on Tuesday.
He pointed out that Mr Daley had apologised for causing offence and went on to say "I have proudly stood up for the Chinese community and I won't stop now".
It came as Race Discrimination Commissioner Chin Tan said he wants to look at introducing a parliamentary code of conduct when it comes to discussing race.
While Mr Daley tried to clarify that he didn't mean to cause offence with his comments, he also said he will always "call it as I see it" and that he was actually talking about housing affordability and cost of living pressures.
When asked if he would concede that his comments could be seen as "racist", Mr Daley said "if you look at the composition of my family you'd hardly make that accusation". Mr Daley's wife is from Mauritius while he has Irish heritage.
He said migrants were "welcome to come to Sydney".
"I've said it's not a bad thing because Asian kids are coming to work here, it's a bad thing because I'd like my daughter and others like her to remain here."
Even though Mr Daley confirmed he had needed to privately clarify his remarks to some Labor colleagues, a roll call of Labor MPs with large immigrant populations yesterday refused to publicly condemn Mr Daley's comments.
Premier pledges free mobile dental checks for kids
EXCLUSIVE: NSW primary school kids will get free mobile dental checks under a Berejiklian government election pledge announced today.
The program - designed to ensure more children receive basic dental care - will begin in Western Sydney, the mid north coast and the Central Coast. It is expected the program would then be rolled out across the state.
Children will receive deep teeth cleaning and basic dental care such as fissure sealing, fillings and fluoride protection for free.
Currently NSW public dental services provide free dental services for children aged to 18, but the mobile school program will ensure children don't fall through the net.
The program would commence in July 2019 and will be funded to the tune of $70 million over four years.
It would provide 35 mobile vans that will target 136,000 children in the trial zones.
"Dental health is so important to give kids a great start in life and we want to make it easier for families to get access to vital dental services," Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the scheme would make it easier for parents to know their children were getting preventive checks.
The dental vans would visit each primary school in the selected regions annually.
A study released last week found that more than a quarter of Australian adults are suffering from tooth decay and 23 per cent have periodontal disease.
- By Anna Caldwell
NSW Labor plan to sell new homes cheaper could be rorted
EXCLUSIVE: Housing industry experts have warned a Labor policy to sell new homes at reduced prices to families earning up to $173,500 could be open to rorting.
A cornerstone of NSW Labor's policy on affordable housing is a plan to make up to 15 per cent of new houses and apartments available for purchase or rent below market value to those deemed to be moderate or low income earners.
But housing industry experts warn that the scheme is open to rorting because individuals and families could simply onsell the house or apartment at the market rate.
It is understood the policy would have strict rules to stop someone from flipping the new property.
But experts say once an individual owns a property, the government can't stop them from selling their own property.
Those on low and moderate incomes earners would be eligible to purchase the property. Under current NSW Family and Community Services definitions, that means a family with four children living in Sydney with a household income of up to $173,500 would be considered a moderate income earner and would qualify for the scheme.
Housing Industry Association Managing Director David Bare said the target would effectively tax the other 85 per cent of purchasers within a development, further increasing house prices.
"Once a person buys a house nobody can force you to live in it for any amount of time, therefore it's impossible to imagine this approach to providing affordable homes won't simply turn into people just selling and keeping the profit," he said.
"The other problem is that the residential developer building the homes or a new estate won't be receiving a subsidy to build these 15 per cent of affordable housing stock.
"That means that people who are buying the other new homes in an estate or a new apartment building who are paying the full market price for their home are effectively paying to subsidise the other 15 per cent of homes involved with the affordable housing scheme."
- By Christopher Harris
Labor candidate pledges review for Bondi Junction towers
Labor's candidate for Coogee Marjorie O'Neill has revealed her party would order an "immediate review" of plans for two 11-storey towers proposed for Bondi Junction.
The Waverley councillor called the project a "planning failure" that should have gone "straight in the bin" after twice being rejected by the council.
Opposition Leader Michael Daley has made scrapping the spot rezoning laws that could allow the proposal to go head one of his key pitches for the NSW Election.
To be located at 194 Oxford St and 2 Nelson St, the proposal would exceed the council's height zoning by 240 per cent and floor space ratio by 230 per cent under the current LEP.
Spot rezoning laws, introduced by the Coalition State Government in 2012, allow developers to circumvent council's planning controls by going directly to the Department of Planning for approval. Sitting Coogee Liberal MP Bruce Notley-Smith told the Wentworth Courier he had "always been against" the development and had made several representations to Planning Minister Anthony Roberts on it.
- By Heath Parkes-Hupton