Irate Husar staffers demand apology from ALP head office
Former staffers of federal Labor MP Emma Husar want an apology from the NSW ALP’s head office, and for it to be acknowledged they were badly bullied by her, following an internal party report that said it “generally favoured” their “perception of events”.
Source: News Corp
Ex-staff among the 22 who gave evidence to an internal ALP investigation into Ms Husar’s conduct also yesterday accused Bill Shorten of double standards, claiming he was quick to brand workplace behaviour by former NSW ALP boss Jamie Clements as unacceptable but appeared to stand uncritically behind Ms Husar.
The Labor MP so far is sticking by her decision, announced last week, not to contest her seat at next year’s election. However, she also said on Friday, after the release of a report summary, that findings by barrister John Whelan for the NSW ALP should not have cost her her job.
A local party branch supporter of Ms Husar from her western Sydney electorate, real estate agent Peggy Willcox, has started a “Bring back Husar!” petition on change.org seeking names to be presented to the Opposition Leader with the request he keep Ms Husar as member for Lindsay.
Ms Willcox, recruited to the ALP by Ms Husar, said her political career had “unjustly come to an end”, highlighting Mr Whelan’s advice that “there was no basis for Ms Husar to resign from parliament”.
Turning the tables on Husar accusers, Ms Willcox says in her petition preamble: “We should be encouraging more women to enter parliament NOT bully them out!”
Representatives of former Husar staff who gave evidence to Mr Whelan said they were most disappointed with the report summary’s vague outcome and would request a meeting with the barrister. “We want to know in plain English what his findings are,” one said.
“We also want an apology. We haven’t heard anything from Labor NSW or Bill Shorten.
“No ‘Are you OK?’ Nothing. It is very distressing to us that Emma Husar seems to think she’s a victim in this.”
When Ms Husar announced she would not run at the next election, Mr Shorten said: “This has been a very difficult time for Emma and her family.”
After Friday’s report summary was released finding “merit” in allegations of “unreasonable management” and demands for “non-work” duties by Ms Husar, Mr Shorten appeared to continue his support. He said Ms Husar had made “the difficult decision” to give up a parliamentary career, putting family and party first.
When Mr Clements was forced to resign as NSW ALP general secretary in January 2016 over allegations he had sexually harassed a Labor staffer, Mr Shorten spoke out against bullying and took responsibility for the party boss’s exit by confirming he had “stepped in” because “I wanted NSW to fix it”.
He said then: “I have no tolerance for workplace harassment in any set of circumstances.”
Mr Clements spoke about the Husar affair at the weekend, posting a series of tweets in which he pointed blame for the end of Ms Husar’s political career at an unnamed person in the ALP for leaking a confidential letter, in which Mr Whelan had set out allegations damaging to Ms Husar.
“Labor people blaming the media for running it need to look a little closer to home and ask: who leaked it? That is who is in the wrong here,” he said.
ALP sources speculate someone on Ms Husar’s side leaked the letter several days before she announced she would not recontest her seat, and that she was unaware of the leaking.