A federal Labor staffer and two senior members of ACT Young Labor allegedly labelled an office bearer of the youth arm of the party a "rat" and conspired to "bully the f--- out of her" to force her to resign her position over a factional dispute.
The alleged victim was allegedly purged from a number of chat groups and forums, was ordered to "proxy" her vote at the ACT Labor conference, and made to feel unwelcome to sit with the Young Labor delegation at the meeting.
A complaint containing the allegations was filed with ACT Labor this week and the matter has been referred to the internal disputes tribunal for investigation.
The complaint alleges ACT Young Labor president Nick Douros, who is also media adviser to ACT Senator David Smith, ACT Young Labor conduct contact officer Francis Claessens, and Niall Cummins committed numerous contraventions of the ACT Labor code of conduct, including intimidation and harassment, coercive behaviour intended to be derogatory or intimidating, offensive messages on social networks, and isolation or exclusion from normal social activities.
Mr Cummins claims the allegations against him are "politically motivated".
The young woman said the behaviour had left her with anxiety and feeling socially isolated, and that she had had lost her appetite and withdrawn from a number of university courses.
"This conduct appears to treat as a forgone conclusion that I would resign from my position [with] ACT Young Labor and/or be intended to make my position untenable and harass me into so resigning," the complaint said.
"I believe this conduct was intended to intimidate me into resigning my position."
The spark for the alleged campaign came after the construction union ordered its staff to join the left faction earlier this month.
ACT Legislative Assembly Labor backbencher Michael Pettersson sensationally quit the right faction soon after.
The complaint said Mr Douros, Mr Claessens and Mr Cummins assumed the woman would defect to the left faction from the centre coalition.
In an online chat group in early August, Mr Cummins allegedly asked "are we able to roll [the woman] off [Young Labor] or are we stuck with her".
Mr Douros allegedly responded: "Tbh we can just bully the f--- out of her until she does" and called her "weak".
Mr Cummins then said: "[Rat emoji] is gonna get a work out."
In another chat, Mr Cummins said: "should we purge [her] from every single group chat, or is that too alarming too people".
Mr Claessens replied "I think its best" and Mr Douros said: "Do it ... she's ratted".
The complaint said the woman was then removed from or prevented from accessing six online groups, including the official Young Labor social media and email account.
On another occasion, Mr Claessens changed the name of a Snapchat group to "ACT Rat Caucus" before six members quit the group.
On August 11, Mr Douros sent the woman a text message that said: "You need to resign. I am going to give you until the end of the week to do so. You will also need to proxy your conference spot".
The woman did not respond to the message, did not resign, and did not proxy her vote.
In a resulting online conversation, Mr Douros wrote: "So if [she] doesn't proxy tomorrow. I'm leading a mass delete off Facebook. Sick of this victim bullshit."
Mr Cummins responded: "If she doesn't proxy she's a proper rat."
Mr Douros then wrote: "If she doesn't proxy I'm going to make her life he'll [sic]..."
The woman attended the conference but did not sit with the Young Labor delegation.
At the conference, while walking past a group of people comprising Mr Douros, Mr Claessens and others, the woman said she heard the comment: "Speak of the devil, here comes a rat".
According to chat transcripts, the trio, who Mr Douros allegedly said had "done some good shit" and "weren't accountable to anyone now", also toyed with getting so-called defectors - including Mr Pettersson - deleted from members' social media.
ACT Labor secretary Matt Byrne said he did not comment on internal disputes.
On Saturday, Mr Douros told Fairfax Media: "I have been made aware of the dispute no less than 24 hours ago.
"ACT Labor has a formal dispute process and I will work with the tribunal to resolve this. It would be inappropriate for myself or anyone else to be making comment or making presumptions about an allegation at this stage because it is still being dealt with by our internal processes."
Mr Claessens said he would work with ACT Labor to resolve the dispute.
"It would be inappropriate for myself or anyone else to be commenting or making presumptions about an unfounded allegation that is still being dealt with by our internal processes," he said.
The complaint was lodged six months after an independent review into ACT Labor found an "adversarial" culture within the party, with overtones of sexism, racism and ageism.
The review made 53 recommendations including overhauling the complaints processes, tribunal and code of conduct.
Some of the recommendations were voted on at last week's annual conference, including a motion that ACT Young Labor establish a committee to deal with bullying issues.
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