Federal Labor MP, Emma Husar has taken personal leave today, amid an investigation into the allegations she bullied staff and instructed them to undertake various household chores including babysitting her youngest child.
Husar issued a statement on Tuesday evening saying she had notified chief opposition whip Chris Hayes that she would take personal leave, effective immediately and indefinitely.
“The past few days have been incredibly difficult for my family. I’m a single mum and my first priority is the safety and wellbeing of my children,” she said.
“I have received threatening messages including threats of violence and have referred them to the Australian Federal Police.
“The best thing for me and my family right now is for us to be out of the spotlight so I can access support.”
BuzzFeed News, broke news of the investigation early last week, simultaneously reporting that Husar’s office had an alarmingly high attrition rate– 20 employees had come had gone in the two years since she was first elected.
Buzzfeed also reported that a member of Husar’s staff lived with her and assisted with domestic duties including babysitting, sparking debate over a misuse of taxpayer funds.
She told BuzzFeed at the time that: “The assertions that have been made do not reflect who I am or how my office operates.”
Yesterday, Labor leader Bill Shorten acknowledged Husar as “a hard-working member in her electorate” but he refrained on commenting about the allegations, saying he’d let the investigation run its course.
Last week, senior Labor frontbencher (and rumoured contender for the Federal Labor leadership) also publicly backed Husar saying: “What I know about Emma Husar is that she’s a single mum, works incredibly hard, represents her electorate very strongly,”
“I find her a terrific person to deal with. I find her a very good local member of parliament.”
The allegations levelled against Husar are particularly ill-timed for Bill Shorten as he faces this weekend’s Super Saturday By-elections–a major test of his leadership. A YouGov Galaxy poll this week found the ALP was trailing in Queensland’s Longman and was neck and neck with the LNP contending Tasmania’s seat of Braddon.
The same poll showed that if Albanese were leading the party, Labor would be polling ahead in both seats 53-47 on a two-party-preferred basis.