For the past few months Labor has remained tight lipped, telling members to say nothing about the Husar scandal which saw an internal investigation into her treatment of staff and alleged misuse of parliamentary entitlements.
Senior federal Labor MPs are pushing back hard against demands to hand an investigation into Emma Husar over to the Department of Finance.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is calling on Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to immediately release the internal report.
But Labor frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon said releasing the document could do great harm, not only to Ms Husar, but to former staff who accused her of bullying and harassment.
Mr Fitzgibbon said many staff members who had provided evidence to the inquiry had entered into the exercise on an anonymous basis and deserved natural justice and procedural fairness.
‘Imagine in the future if there’s an allegation against someone and witnesses don’t come forward to allow us to come to proper conclusions because they fear those submissions being made public,’ he told the ABC on Friday.
‘This is a hopeless attempt by Malcolm Turnbull to again turn this into something about Bill Shorten, which is absolutely desperate and ridiculous.’
Mr Fitzgibbon is not impressed that so much of the internal investigation had been leaked to the media.
‘I would hope that in the future, when you’re having a serious inquiry like this, the details don’t end up on the front page of our newspapers,’ he said.
Ms Husar will not recontest her western Sydney seat of Lindsay at the next election, after 22 former staffers levelled allegations of mistreatment against her.
NSW Labor is expected to release the conclusions of its investigations to her on Friday.
Anthony Albanese, a leading figure in the NSW Labor Party, said making the report public was not a decision for him, and he doesn’t know the circumstances in which people involved had come forward.
‘Sometimes when you have inquiries, people come forward on the basis of confidentiality,’ he told the Nine Network.
‘What we know is that Emma Husar has said that she won’t contest the next election.
‘What we know is that the government has tried to make this the big issue rather than the $444 million grant (to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation).’
Ms Shorten said Ms Husar had made a ‘very principled’ decision to stand down.
‘She’s put her party and the people first. I actually now think that it’s time for some of the personal attacks to stop. It’s what turns people off politics,’ he said.
After announcing she would quit, Ms Husar accused some in the party of resenting her election because she had not come through the party machine.
‘A few nasty, faceless people can ruin someone’s career, almost completely smash it to pieces,’ she said.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull asked Special Minister of State Mathias Cormann about the bullying allegations and was told there were processes in place for aggrieved staff.
Employees can lodge complaints with the Finance Department or Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority.
Ms Husar’s western Sydney seat of Lindsay, held with a margin of just 1.1%, will be hotly contested between Labor and the Liberals at the election due by May 2019.
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The Australian Tribune Editorial