Labor MP Emma Husar has bowed to the inevitable and announced she will not contest next year’s election – although she plans to stay in parliament until then.
With a string of extraordinary allegations about her personal conduct, including claims of serious bullying and inappropriate sexual behaviour, coming from multiple staff members, Husar faced disendorsement if she didn’t announce she would not seek to run again.
She holds the highly marginal Sydney seat of Lindsay.
Husar said in a statement: “This is a very sad day for me.”
She said she had co-operated with the NSW Labor inquiry into the allegations made against her and “kept quiet in the face of vicious and baseless smears and sensational clickbait headlines with no basis in fact.”
“This vendetta led to threats to my personal safety, the trolling of my children online and media parked outside my house around the clock. It has been terrifying for my kids and utterly traumatic for me.”
She said she “absolutely” rejected the “malicious allegations”, but “given my reputation has been completely shredded by nameless, faceless people”, she saw no point in waiting for the NSW report.
“Enough is enough. I’ve spoken with Bill Shorten and let him know that I won’t be re-contesting the next election.
I’m going on my own terms: I will continue to give my best for the wonderful community of Lindsay; I will fight to clear my name from the unbelievable mud that’s been thrown at it”.
Husar told 9NEWS: “I could have absolutely done better. Am I perfect? No way. I’m not going to sit here and say that I’m perfect. But did I do those things? Absolutely not.”
In the latest claims, made in Wednesday’s Australian, one former staffer accused Husar of “insensitive and brutal” treatment. The staffer also alleged that her daughter had been turned against her by Husar.
The staffer, Angela Hadchiti, was quoted as saying: “There is not one staffer involved in this … There are 22 of us, and we are in this together”. Husar had previously tried to blame one disgruntled former staffer for the allegations against her.
Bill Shorten has denied that he knew the allegations until the story was about the break on BuzzFeed. The government has repeatedly publicly doubted his word.
Before the Husar announcement, Shorten said on Wednesday: “I’ll wait until the investigation has concluded”.
Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.