Labor leader Anthony Albanese’s deputy chief of staff Sabina Husic has resigned saying she “no longer feels safe” in the role after a “cowardly and weak” anonymous dossier was circulating with malicious claims about his office.
The veteran Labor staffer said she was prioritising her mental health on Tuesday night after a week of debate about the plight of female staffers and bullying at Parliament House.
Ms Husic said she decided to hand in her resignation after being devastated by the anonymous attack while on mental health leave.
“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 said.
“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.”
The document targeting Albanese’s office has sparked fresh leadership speculation after it was uploaded online on Monday night before quickly being taken down.
However, the dossier had spread quickly through media and political circles.
The anonymous attack against Ms Husic was posted on the same day she returned from three weeks of mental health leave for depression.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese dismissed the document attacking his office and staff as a “fake” and said the email included that purported to be from Ms Husic was mocked up.
“It’s a fake. It’s fake,” Mr Albanese said. “It’s a very good office. I have an outstanding office.”
Ms Husic, the sister of NSW Labor MP Ed Husic, had joined Mr Albanese’s office after the 2019 election.
“Thank you to you and Anthony for the support you have provided me. I wish you and the office every success for the future,’’ she said in her resignation letter.
Labor’s home affairs spokeswoman Kristina Keneally told news.com.au that the anonymous attack on Ms Husic was “cowardly and weak”.
“Whoever has done this is cowardly and weak especially at a time when she was already on leave for depression,’’ Ms Keneally said.
“I value her counsel, her smarts and her friendship. Sabina has courage and strength but I support her decision
“I am sure this cowardly attack on her will not impact on her career.”
This article originally appeared on Over60.