'I am not Sharon Stone, I am not a thief': Emma Husar launches defamation action against BuzzFeed
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'I am not Sharon Stone, I am not a thief': Emma Husar launches defamation action against BuzzFeed

Labor MP Emma Husar on Thursday.

Labor MP Emma Husar on Thursday.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

Labor MP Emma Husar is suing media site BuzzFeed and journalist Alice Workman for publishing what she says were slut-shaming smears that she was not given opportunity to respond to before they went viral.

Clearly emotional, Ms Husar gave a personal explanation to Parliament as the sittings came to a close for the year. She did not say whether she would fight the Labor Party to retain endorsement to contest her western Sydney seat at the next election, amid speculation she could also quit and run as an independent.

Ms Husar said BuzzFeed had only approached her for a response to 48 questions one minute after the article was published. "I had no chance to refute, nor respond."

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Ms Husar said BuzzFeed claimed she had bragged about her sexual relations, sexually harassed an employee and exposed herself to a colleague and his infant son. "I am not a bully, I am not Sharon Stone, I am not a thief and I did not deliberately misuse my work expenses," she said, referencing the Hollywood star widely associated with a sexually graphic film scene.

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Ms Husar launched defamation proceedings against BuzzFeed and Alice Workman in the Federal Court on Thursday morning, represented by boutique Sydney law firm Inside Eagles.

The case will first be mentioned in court on December 21.

Ms Husar indicated earlier this week she could move to the crossbench before the budget in a move that would set her up to recontest her western Sydney seat as an independent next year.

The backbencher has stoked fears among colleagues that she may quit the party in protest at what she sees as a smear campaign by former staff and enemies within the Labor machine.

Ms Husar has missed both Labor caucus meetings this parliamentary sitting fortnight, citing illness, but did participate in a parliamentary basketball game on Tuesday.

On Monday, she said she deliberately missed a vote moved by deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek condemning Prime Minister Scott Morrison for "abandoning women" because: "I was not elected to play politics or be played by agendas of others."

Ms Husar announced she would quit politics in August following an investigation into claims she bullied staff and ran a dysfunctional office. But she has since changed her mind, arguing she was the victim of lies by former staff and should stay in the job.

with Georgina Mitchell

Latika Bourke is a reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age based in London. She has previously worked for Fairfax Media, the ABC and 2UE in Canberra. Latika won the Walkley Award for Young Australian Journalist of the Year in 2010.

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