Former Labor MP Emma Husar has criticised the Labor Party’s treatment of women, accusing the party of perpetuating a culture of silence and cover up, and treating the sexual harassment of women as a political problem.
In an open letter to Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, posted to Twitter on Wednesday, Husar detailed how she was “slut shamed” in 2018 when false allegations of misconduct were levelled against her.
Husar, the former federal member for Lindsay, wrote that Albanese told her in a meeting in September 2019 she was owed “nothing short of a public apology” for the treatment she endured in parliament, but this apology has never materialised. She said Albanese is part of a “powerful boy’s club” that protects each other.
“I have been galled watching my former colleagues speak out yet were silent bystanders when I endured such horrendous treatment,” she said.
“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 the ‘political power, before women’s safety’ approach.”
Despite her successful defamation case, Husar said the party continues to “pretend that poor treatment of women exists on only one side of the political divide”.
“I will no longer hold secrets of and protect those who should have done better when they had the chance, yet still continue with their do nothing approach,” she said.
“Your inaction and that of the powerful boy’s club that protects each other must be dismantled.”
A strong woman stands up for herself, then she stands up for others.— Emma Husar (@emma_husar) February 23, 2021
Thank you to all the women who are telling their stories. The Culture of silence is dangerous & exists on all sides of Politics.#auspol #BrittanyHiggins pic.twitter.com/51JuAe1haB
In light of Brittany Higgins’ allegations last week, Husar has told ABC’s 7.30 program the Labor Party cannot continue to ride their “sanctimonious high horses like it’s not happening on the Labor side”.
“In terms of their duty of care, there was none, and no support was offered,” Husar told 7.30 on Wednesday night. “They were all complicit. They all sat there, they all knew that it was wrong.”
“They didn’t want me speaking out and they did everything that they could to shut me up.
“Mostly they were the media unit attached to the Leader of the Opposition’s office … predominantly doing their job on behalf of their MPs, in a way of politically protecting the leader.
“Issues against women of mistreatment, sexual harassment, sexual assault are treated as a political issue.”