First-term Labor MP Emma Husar will not recontest her western Sydney seat of Lindsay at the next election, walking away from politics amid an internal party investigation into a string of allegations about inappropriate behaviour.
Last week the details were sensationally leaked to Buzzfeed and included a claim that Husar had “flashed” colleague Jason Clare in his parliamentary office as he played with his infant son on the floor.
Both MPs deny the claim and Husar is believed to be investigating her legal options.
Telling Nine News that she was quitting politics, Husar said she “threw up” when she first heard the claim.
“It doesn’t just allege that I did something wrong to a grown up, but there was a child in the room, and that’s absolutely the lowest part of what’s gone on here,” she said.
It was an “disappoint” and “agonising decision” the MP said, and “an incredibly sad day for me”, but “enough is enough”.
“I don’t know if my reputation will ever recover,” she said.
The findings of the ALP investigation by barrister John Whelan, are due in the next fortnight, but may never be made public.
In a letter to Husar seeking her response to 44 allegations, believed to be mostly from former staff members, Whelan warned that if they were found to be true, then the MP could potentially be in breach the ALP Code of Conduct, the Fair Work Act, and the Sex Discrimination Act.
The claims 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.
In the interview with Nine, Husar said while she could have done better, “did I do those things? Absolutely not”.
The mother-of-three said it had been it had been “incredibly tough” seeing her children being trolled online.
“The last few weeks have really pushed them to their limits,” she said.
“But they’ll learn from this, watch that their mum is still strong, resilient and standing up to people.”
Husar said she wanted to announce her departure on her own terms.
“I’m not going to let people just keep pummeling me the way they have for the last three weeks, with no evidence, with no facts, and just vexatious, malicious allegations that are just designed to smear me,” she said.
In 2016, when the 38-year-old won Lindsay from Liberal Fiona Scott, Husar was hailed as a part of Labor’s resurgence under Bill Shorten.
Excerpts from the interview are here.
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