Top Albanese staffer resigns after ‘malicious, false’ attack

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Labor leader Anthony Albanese's deputy chief of staff Sabina Husic has resigned after an anonymous "malicious" attack against her was posted online the day she returned from three weeks of mental health leave.

An anonymous document was posted on a specially created webpage on Monday night, airing a series of uncorroborated claims against senior staff in Mr Albanese's office. Mr Albanese described the claims as "fake" and stood by his "outstanding office" staff.

Sabina Husic has resigned as Anthony Albanese’s deputy chief of staff.Credit:AFR

But Ms Husic, who has previously worked for Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, resigned on Tuesday afternoon due to the toll the attack took on her.

"I have been on leave for the past three weeks to respond to my mental health needs. This is the second time I have taken mental health leave in recent months, following my diagnosis with depression last year," she wrote to Mr Albanese's chief of staff Tim Gartrell.

"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.

"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."

The anonymous letter was addressed to Mr Albanese but his office confirmed it has not been sent to him. It included an alleged screen shot of a foul-mouthed email and other unsubstantiated claims.

Asked about the anonymous letter before Ms Husic resigned, Mr Albanese stood by his staff.

"It's a fake. It's fake," Mr Albanese said in response to multiple questions about the document. "It's a very good office. I have an outstanding office."

No one has claimed responsibility for the letter or revealed who wrote it. It was deleted on Monday night but saved versions had circulated in political and media circles.

Ms Husic worked in the Victorian premier's office before later joining Liberal powerbroker Michael Photios' Premier State lobbying firm. She started working for Mr Albanese shortly after the May 2019 election.

Her brother Ed Husic is a Western Sydney MP who was recently returned to Labor's front bench following the resignation of senior right faction MP Joel Fitzgibbon.

Mr Fitzgibbon sparked leadership unrest with his comments about Mr Albanese and Labor's climate policy, as he warned the party was headed for another election defeat unless it drastically changes direction.

Labor's home affairs spokeswoman Kristina Keneally said whoever created the anonymous document was "cowardly and weak".

"The culture of the ALP is to have open, frank and respectful conversations. In my experience that's what I've always had with Sabina," she said.

Labor frontbencher Mark Butler praised Ms Husic after her resignation.

"Sabina is an outstanding thinker on modern communications with excellent political instincts. Her understanding of digital communications and campaigning is especially sharp. She has a very bright future," he said.

Labor's health spokesman Chris Bowen said her strategic media skills are first class.

"Her departure is a big loss. But she will, I am sure, continue to contribute to the Labor movement for many years to come," he said.

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