Under fire Labor MP for the marginal Western Sydney seat of Lindsay Emma Husar, yesterday evening announced she was taking personal leave due to ‘threats’ she had received after it was revealed she had mistreated and bullied her staff.
Ms Husar’s response has been to say she is “horrified” by the allegations and that “my office is a professional and respectful workplace, it should not be perceived in any other way and of course, I’m sorry if any person has been given reason to think otherwise”.
Ms Husar has gone through 20 electorate officers in just under 2 years when she is only entitled to 4 as a backbencher. These staffers who have complained are scared to speak publicly fearing retribution. She has allegedly called staff “c**ts”, “f***wits”, and that she told a male staff member to do the dishes to “learn about white male privilege”.
The allegations against Ms Husar do not just involve bullying but possible misuse of taxpayer funds given that her staff who are meant to serve her electorate ended up doing household chores such as babysitting her children and walking her dog. It is even alleged that one staffer moved into her house to perform domestic duties.
In response, both Husar and her Labor colleagues have defended her misuse of the electorate staff by highlighting that she is a single mother of three trying to balance work and family. Anthony Albanese called her a “terrific” hardworking single mum, Bill Shorten remarked “I think she’s been a hardworking member in her electorate”, backbencher Mike Kelly even defended her misuse of staff resources “small price to pay” for “facilitating the ability of women to participate in our parliament”.
If Husar needs help with people looking after her children and keeping her home tidy then maybe she can take some money out of her $200,000 salary she receives as a government backbencher to hire a nanny and housekeeper. Most single mothers don’t have the privilege of such a generous salary.
There was much goodwill towards Husar when she gave her maiden speech to parliament where teary-eyed she spoke about surviving domestic violence both as a child and an adult over 29 of her 36-year life. Many would be now horrified to learn that someone who has spoken about surviving abuse has allegedly turned into an abuser themselves.
Husar said she was taking personal leave last night not to address the allegations but because of “threatening messages including threats of violence” and that “I’m a single mum and my first priority is the safety and wellbeing of my children,” and she needed “to be out of the spotlight so I can access support”.
A lot of what is driving this rage towards Husar which of course does not excuse threats is the fact she is seen to be abusing her position as MP, abusing her staff who would be working long hours and making many sacrifices themselves and she is seen to be the worst embodiment of the entitlement culture and politicians with their snouts in the trough. The public is further enraged by her continuing to portray herself as a victim.
There has been an internal NSW Labor investigation led by barrister John Joseph Whelan into the allegations against Husar since March this year. Bill Shorten claims he was not aware of this investigation until last week. Despite the stirring defence put by her Labor colleagues this past week the political pressure against Husar will continue to mount.
With a federal election due in less than a year Linsday is a bellwether seat which Labor would need to retain to form government. One would expect and the public is hoping that political expediency dictates that Husar would be quietly disendorsed as Labor’s candidate. The media is certainly going in for the kill against Husar with more revelations in today’s paper meaning Husar’s political demise could soon be a matter of when not if.