Q&A with Luke Foley

Sahar Mourad caught up with Luke Foley MP, Leader of the Opposition, to find out more about his personal life.

Sahar:  What does being a father mean to you?
Luke: It’s extremely important because my father left home when I was seven years old and I never saw him again. I want to be the male role model for our three children, a role model that I never really had. It’s probably the most important thing in my life.
Sahar: How will you be celebrating Father’s Day?
Luke: I would like to be surprised but we’ll be at the Strathfield Festival as a family, which is on the first Sunday of September. Our kids love that spring festival, and my boy, who’s now five, always helps out the magician who does the magic show at the festival. So that’s become a bit of a family tradition for us on Father’s Day.
Sahar: How do you like to spend your days off with your kids?
Luke: My wife and I have different views about this because when I’m not working I like to be at home, and do things with the kids at home, for example, just play sport and games in the backyard. But my wife Edel, wants us to go out and do activities. Sometimes we go to the zoo. My kids love Taronga Zoo. Or we might go somewhere for lunch, or Olympic Park. My job makes big demands of my time, so you have to try to carve out time for the family. One of my rules is to not do any work on a Saturday morning because the kids have sporting and other activities. The girls have singing and I try to take the kids to those activities every Saturday.
Sahar: What do you like to do in your spare time – when you’re alone?
Luke: If I’m not working and I’m at home and the kids have gone to bed, I like to watch football and cricket. That would be relaxation for me.
Sahar: What book are you reading right now?
Luke: I’m reading an Australian novel called Beams Falling by Pamela Newton. It’s a crime novel set in Cabramatta and she [the author], is a former policewoman who quit the police force to write crime novels. Her novels are set in Sydney.
Sahar: Who is your favourite author?
Luke: James Ellroy. Ellroy is an American crime novelist who would be most famous for his crime novels set in LA. His work is very hardboiled. I think his finest novel was American Tabloid which is set in a period when JFK was assassinated.
Sahar: What is your favourite quote, and why?
Luke: It has got to be by the immortal, Walt Disney, “Believe in your dreams, no matter how impossible they seem.” I teach my kids to be optimistic and place no limits on what they can do in life.
Sahar: What is your favourite movie?
Luke: The Day of the Jackal, which I think was made in the mid-1970s – which shows how old I am. No no *laughs* I was probably only four or five years old when it was made. It was about an attempt to assassinate President Charles de Gaulle of France. Crime fiction and thrillers, that’s escapism for me.
Sahar: What is your favourite childhood memory?
Luke: Mum always looked after us. Mum raised us. So probably Mum taking me to sports like soccer and cricket through all my years as a child at school.
Sahar: Favourite meal?
Luke: I love prawns. I should say to the El Telegraph readers that I love Lebanese food, Arabic food. I love food but if you had to pin me down for one favourite I would have to say prawns. Fresh Australian prawns.
Sahar: What made you want to get into politics?
Luke: We were a Labor supporting family when I was a kid, but no one in my family had been involved in politics. I guess when I was growing up I saw what the Labor governments of Bob Hawke and Neville Wran, so what Federal and State Governments did for the people, and that inspired me.
Sahar: What advice do you have for young people who wish to pursue a career in politics.
Luke: To become involved in whatever political party you want to support. Obviously I want young people interested in politics to be active with the Labor party, but I think our country will benefit from passionate and idealistic young people, becoming involved in all our political parties to make a better society.
Sahar: What are your thoughts on Michael Clark deciding to retire from cricket?
Luke: I think top sportspeople know in their hearts when it’s time to get out and he’s made the decision that he is comfortable with. But my real thoughts on Michael Clark is he’s a young man who grew up in Liverpool, who played all his cricket as a boy in the Western suburbs, who made it to Captain of the Australian team. I think his story is an inspiring story.