Tess Lazarus, the woman at the centre of the war of words between senator Glenn Lazarus, who resigned from the Palmer United Party today, and party boss Clive Palmer, has spoken about working with the mining magnate and Fairfax MP, accusing him of bullying and foul language.
The senator’s wife issued a statement today after being sacked yesterday, with the party accusing her of “failing to comply with the terms of her employment”.
Prime minister Tony Abbott banned family members from working with MPs in their offices last year in the wake of controversy over a former Queensland MP employing his wife as a researcher.
Tess Lazarus says her role was “parliamentary secretary” to the Palmer United Party’s senators and she worked 70-to-80-hour weeks in a range of roles, including researcher.
She shared her husband’s office and in reference to Palmer, said they “do not agree with bullying behaviour”.
“I did make it clear to Clive that I was not happy with being bullied and spoken to using foul language,” Lazarus said. “I do not think that anyone should have to put up with this behaviour in the workplace.”
Palmer, who has admitted previously that he swears, but denied bullying claims and returned fire saying he had reprimanded senator Lazarus “for swearing and carrying on with people and abusing them” as well as calling the former head of his party a “washed up footballer”.
Tess Lazarus said she was “disappointed that Clive has responded in this manner by making hurtful and untrue comments”.
She said she would assist her husband in a voluntary role.
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