Labor MP Emma Husar has flown the white flag and fallen on her sword.
Allegedly it’s all with the best interests of the Labor party in mind. But her resignation may not be enough to fend off a parliamentary investigation into bullying and harassment claims levelled against her, according to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Ms Husar has confirmed she will quit politics at the next federal election, as an investigation into dysfunction and mistreatment at her western Sydney electorate office draws to a close.
Mr Turnbull says it is unbelievable Labor Leader Bill Shorten did not know about the scandal before it hit the news just three weeks ago.
‘The allegations are of bullying and harassment. It’s unlikely this wasn’t brought to his attention. His story is not believable, so I think he needs to really come clean on this,’ he told The Daily Telegraph on Thursday.
‘For somebody who has always claimed to be such a protector of workers’ rights, what steps did he take to investigate the complaints and set out to protect the workers who have been employed in Emma Husar’s office?’
Mr Turnbull intends to speak to Special Minister of State Mathias Cormann about holding an investigation.
Mr Shorten maintains neither he nor his staff knew anything of an internal investigation into the claims until journalists contacted his office for comment.
Lawyer John Whelan’s report is due to be handed to NSW Labor by Friday after he finished investigating complaints made by 22 of Ms Husar’s former staff.
The allegations include that she bullied and sexually harassed her electorate office employees and diverted Labor funds into her personal bank account.
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.
‘I had not done my Labor Party apprenticeship,’ she told the Nine Network.
‘A few nasty, faceless people can ruin someone’s career, almost completely smash it to pieces.’
She said she ‘threw up’ over an allegation she exposed herself to Labor frontbencher Jason Clare while he played with his young child in his office.
Ms Husar and Mr Clare say the incident did not happen.
Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese said Ms Husar had come to the decision to leave parliament herself.
‘It’s now time for the endless media speculation to be put to bed and for people to move on from this issue,’ he told the ABC on Wednesday.
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 with AAP