Wagga councillor Dan Hayes has again decided to run for Labor in the city’s state seat as its current MP continues to take hits from anti-corruption hearings.
NSW acting opposition leader Michael Daley joined with Mr Hayes to announce his candidacy on Tuesday morning outside Wagga’s council office.
Mr Daley said Mr Hayes would stand for election in March or sooner if Wagga’s current MP resigned amid pressure over a Sydney property deal.
“We have got a situation where the community has lost faith and trust in the current member and we have got an election coming up in March,” Mr Hayes said.
“The opportunity I am putting my hand up for is to be able to represent and fight for the city of Wagga.
“This is a town I was born and raised in, I’m currently a councillor and I’m looking for that opportunity to step up and be the state member.”
Mr Hayes ran for Labor in Wagga during the 2015 state election and secured 28.1 per cent of the primary vote but lost to current Wagga MP Daryl Maguire, who won on 62.9 per cent of the two party preferred vote.
Mr Maguire quit the Liberal Party on Friday after revelations at the Independent Commission Against Corruption investigation’s into Canterbury City Council.
The commission heard a recorded phone call that detailed how Mr Maguire sought to use his influence as an MP for personal gain from a Sydney property deal.
Mr Maguire has said he “won’t resign” but he will “bring forward” a decision not to stand for re-election in March.
This was despite saying he “could not risk Labor getting in” when asked about his political future earlier this year.
Mr Maguire issued a video statement via his official Facebook page on Monday afternoon in which he again apologised for breaching parliament’s “very strict code of conduct”.
By Monday night, Mr Maguire had taken down the video and deleted or deactivated his Facebook page, which had about 500 followers.
Mr Daley called on Premier Premier Gladys Berejiklian to go further than her previous statement that urged Mr Maguire to “think carefully” about his decision to remain in parliament.
“Maguire stayed in his office and made a cowardly and bewildering and selfish statement that he’s not going anywhere,” Mr Daley said.
“He has said twice yesterday that he has breached the very strict code of conduct that applies to parliamentary secretaries.
“If you think it’s OK for someone to be 400 kilometres away doing deals with Liberal councillors in Canterbury on behalf of developers on the other side of the world, that fails the pub test.”
“There is noone in NSW who thinks Daryl Maguire should be in parliament except Daryl Maguire and Gladys Berejiklian. Daryl is being selfish, Gladys is being weak and the losers are the people of Wagga.”
Mr Daley also called on Mr Maguire to “do the right thing” and resign from parliament.
Mr Maguire has refused to quit, arguing that a by-election would be too expensive for taxpayers.