Ousted Labor MP Emma Husar has accused Anthony Albanese of using her case to undermine Bill Shorten before she was “disposed of, moved on, (and) buried under the carpet” by the Labor Party.
The former Lindsay MP was disendorsed by the party before the 2019 election after facing a slew of accusations over the culture in her office.
An internal review upheld claims Ms Husar had treated her staff unreasonably, but rejected allegations of inappropriate, sexualised behaviour.
With Brittany Higgins’ rape allegation bringing the mistreatment of women in parliament into focus, Ms Husar has written a letter to Mr Albanese accusing him of being part of a “powerful boys club that protects each other”.
She claimed Mr Albanese told her she deserved “nothing short of a public apology” during a meeting in September 2019, but failed to follow through because it did not suit his political aspirations.
“When the stories about me were breaking, Mr Albanese was one of the only colleagues who was out there defending me. That was because it was to undermine (then leader) Bill Shorten,” she told Sky News.
However, once he became the leader, Mr Albanese no longer felt the need to apologise to her, Ms Husar said.
“I was disposed of, moved on, buried under the carpet and away they went,” she said.
She claimed she followed up on the promise of an apology with Mr Albanese in October and November 2019, but did not receive a response.
Mr Albanese declined to comment.
In the letter, Ms Husar said she was “galled” to see her old colleagues speak out over the mistreatment of women in parliament, having failed to do so when she was in the spotlight.
“I have waited too long for the right thing to be done, and I can no longer sit and watch woman after woman be treated poorly by the tacit approval given when our male leaders take a ‘political power before women’s safety’ approach,” she wrote.
A dossier that included the since-dismissed allegations of sexual inappropriateness was leaked to the media in 2018.
Buzzfeed offered a public apology to Ms Husar in 2019 for not reaching out to her over an article she said portrayed her as a “slut”.
The parties reached an out-of-court settlement before Ms Husar’s defamation case went to trial.
Ms Husar said she was also slut-shamed on the floor of parliament, which she raised with her senior Labor shadow minister.
“His response was: don’t talk about it, and draw more attention to it. The boys on our side do worse, if not the same thing, and it’ll cause a problem for us,” she told Sky News.
Labor lost Ms Husar’s NSW swing seat of Lindsay in western Sydney at the 2019 election.
The issue of parliament’s workplace culture has come into the spotlight after Ms Higgins, a former staffer to Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, claimed she was raped by a colleague in Ms Reynolds’ office in 2019.
Two other women came forward to allege they were raped by the same staffer, while a fourth alleged he sexually harassed her.
Three separate reviews have been launched into the workplace culture of parliament, though only one will be independent from government.