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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Sabina Husic quits: Tanya Plibersek’s warning to Labor Party

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A senior staffer resigned from the Labor leader’s office claiming she “no longer felt safe in the role”, but the party has been told to focus on the Australian people.

Labor has been warned against “self-indulgent” talk about internal issues after a senior staffer resigned from Anthony Albanese’s office.

Anthony Albanese’s deputy chief of staff Sabina Husic resigned Tuesday after an anonymous online post published a series of unverified claims against her.

The post, which was taken down on Monday night but reappeared on Tuesday, also alleged a toxic culture in Mr Albanese’s office.

But Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek has warned against getting distracted from Labor’s jobs focus.

“(Sabina Husic) is a very experienced, very hardworking person and I wish her all the best. But the last thing I’m going to do is start commenting on staffing issues in one member of parliament’s office,” she said.

“Of course parliament needs to be a healthy, safe workplace like every other workplace in Australia.

“(But) how self-indulgent would it be to stand around talking about us again, when people are crying out for a job or more hours of work? That is my focus.”

Mr Albanese stood by his staff on Tuesday, dismissing the post as “fake” and insisting he had “an outstanding office”.

But in a resignation letter published by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, Ms Husic said she “no longer felt safe in the role”.

“Last night I was the subject of a malicious, false, fake and defamatory attack on my character. This was highly distressing and has had an incredibly harmful effect on my personal wellbeing,” she wrote.

“The defamatory attacks and online harassment I have experienced are beyond the bounds of what should be required for this job or any staff position.

“For women staff, it is important to feel safe in their roles and workplaces – that very much extends to their mental health and wellbeing. I no longer feel safe in this role. I have decided to put my health and wellbeing first.

“Thank you to you and Anthony for the support you have provided me. I wish you and the office every success for the future.”

Liberal MP Tim Wilson is calling for a probe into the allegations.

“The claims brought forward need to be investigated to ensure parliament is a safe workplace for women, for all Australians. People should be able to go to any workplace and feel respected and treated with dignity. If anyone has fallen short, that’s the natural consequence,” he told Sky News.

Ms Husic had worked for Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews before joining Mr Albanese’s office shortly after Labor’s loss in last year’s federal election.

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