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Bullying accusations levelled against ALP

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A former Labor MP has criticised leader Anthony Albanese for failing to address bullying accusations in the party while he “traverses the countryside electioneering”.

Emma Husar, who has been a vocal critic of the Labor party’s culture, levelled her own accusation of bullying against senator Kristina Keneally and claimed a lack of support from MP Anne Aly. 

“I have certainly been on the receiving end of Kristina Keneally’s treatment and I’ve been on the receiving end of quite a number of other senior women within the Labor Party who behave in such a way,” she said.

“When I did face media scrutiny and a barrage of unfettered and untested allegations, I was completely ostracised by my party, by people who should have supported me. 

“So, I can imagine those last few months for Kimberley would have been quite lonely.”

Ms Husar said Dr Aly treated her like she was in high school after delivering a speech in parliament in December 2018.

“I walked out and Anne Aly looked me up and down like I was in high school again and she said, ‘That was disgusting’ simply because I dared to push back and say enough’s enough,” she said.

“I had no support from those women.”

Senator Keneally was named as one of three senior Labor women, including Penny Wong and Katy Gallagher, who reportedly ostracised the late senator Kimberley Kitching in the lead up to her suspected heart attack last week.

“I would suggest that the Labor Party are doing what they’ve always done, which is pretend nothing’s gone wrong and then next week it will be business as usual and they will never address the culture,” Ms Husar said.

Labor deputy leader Richard Marles said it wasn’t the appropriate time to address the accusations in the media with the late senator’s funeral on Monday.

“I’m not saying it’s not a fair question,” he said.

“But, I’m not going to walk down that path because it’s impossible to do that without moving away from, in this moment, focusing on the achievements of Kimberley’s life.

“My focus at the moment is really on supporting Kimberley’s family and honouring and dignifying Kimberley.”

But, Mr Marles said he didn’t accept the assertions that have been made against senators Keneally, Wong and Gallagher. 

Ms Husar denied she had her own axe to grind against Labor after leaving parliament following allegations of bullying.

“There was nothing substantiated.

“Not a single witness turned up to the BuzzFeed defamation case to support any of those allegations,” she said. 

“I don’t have an axe to grind.

“What I want to see is that politics becomes a really safe place for women and currently party politics is not safe for women.”

An internal party review released in 2018 found complaints that Ms Husar subjected staff to “unreasonable management” through unreasonable communication, demands, practices and disciplinary methods had merit.

But, the investigation found allegations of sexual harassment and misleading parliament were not supported and there was no basis for Ms Husar to resign in 2019.

“There is definitely a culture of bullying within the Labor party,” she said.

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