New sexual harassment allegations have emerged against Western Sydney Labor MP Emma Husar — already under investigation by her party’s state head office over allegations of bullying and inappropriate use of taxpayer funds — including a claim she exposed herself to a staff member in an incident similar to Sharon Stone’s famous leg-crossing scene from Basic Instinct.
Details of the extraordinary claims by the MP’s former staffers are contained in a letter to Husar from the investigator appointed by NSW Labor, barrister John Whelan, which was obtained by Buzzfeed News.
They range from workplace bullying and verbal abuse, to sexualised behaviour and inappropriate sexual comments, then misdirection of funds into personal accounts and misuse of staff for personal errands ranging from babysitting to cleaning, clothes alterations and dogwalking.
An allegation that in June 2017, while in fellow Labor MP Jason Clare’s Parliamentary office, Husar opened her legs “on three occasions” to reveal she was not wearing underwear have been strenuously denied by both MPs involved.
Husar, who recently took personal leave as details of the allegations against her began to mount, has today denied the claims detailed on Buzzfeed, writing on Twitter that they are “100% false”.
“This smear is completely and utterly untrue, unfair and hurtful beyond belief,” she wrote.
“I have done my best to cooperate with the investigation and clear my name, but it’s clear these people will stop at nothing to destroy me.”
The claim, republished by Buzzfeed from the letter, says:
It is alleged that you and [redacted] attended Mr Jason Clare’s office at Parliament. Mr Clare was sitting on the floor playing with his son. [Redacted] alleged that he was sitting opposite you and that on three occasions you spread your legs, revealing that you were not wearing any underwear. [Redacted] felt that your conduct was deliberate, proactive and targeted towards Mr Clare.
Jason Clare has labelled it “completely untrue”.
A former staffer made claims of sexual harassment against Husar, including inappropriate physical contact. There are also claims that she employed her children’s nanny in the office.
More than 20 people have provided statements to Whelan, amounting to more than 200,000 words of testimony. The letter, dated May 16, asked Husar for a face-to-face interview to respond to the allegations.
Whelan’s letter warns that if the allegations were found to be true, they could potentially breach the ALP Code of Conduct, the Fair Work Act, and the Sex Discrimination Act.
A high staff turnover of more than 20 people in the two years since the first-time MP for Lindsay was elected sparked the review by NSW Labor.
The findings over the Whelan review, which has taken most of 2018, are expected to be handed down by mid-August.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten said he only became aware of the allegations against his MP when a media inquiry sparked the NSW ALP head office to inform him on July 18.
Federal treasurer Scott Morrison said Shorten not knowing about the allegations meant that “he either is incompetent or he’s been covering it up – which is it, Bill? Because someone who pretends to want to be the Prime Minister has got to be able to answer those questions. I mean, he already has lost one Senator who had to resign in disgrace in Senator Dastyari and now he has the pin-up of his 2016 election campaign in Emma Husar.
“She is the face of the Labor Party. She was the face that the Labor Party presented to the last election, not just in Western Sydney, but to the entire nation and said, ‘This is the reason that Bill Shorten should be Prime Minister.’ And what we know today is that there’s now egg on that face.
Buzzfeed has more here.
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