Labor MP Emma Husar has repaid $2300 to taxpayers after an audit into her use of chauffeur-driven Commonwealth cars in Sydney’s CBD.
But the Member for Lindsay urged authorities to change the rules, arguing it’s not safe for women to enter car parks at night.
The independent watchdog into MPs’ expenses found Ms Husar’s 21 breaches largely related to her use of Commonwealth cars from Penrith to the Sydney CBD, which MPs are not allowed to request in the city they live in.
The outgoing MP, who quit after a scandal into the working conditions in her office, told The New Daily that if she really was a rorter, she could have stayed overnight in Sydney in some instances rather than catch a taxpayer-funded ride home.
“If I had stayed in a hotel, which I was eligible to do, it would have cost $300 or $400,” she said.
“So I am the most frugal “rorter” … going around. And I didn’t want to book a hotel as I have caring responsibilities and I would have to pay a nanny. It’s not the best use of taxpayer funds.”
The report finds 21 breaches of the rules, including using a Comcar in Sydney after she was admitted to hospital with pneumonia and after knee surgery.
“The IPEA (Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority) fully expect me, a woman, to park somewhere in Kings Cross and then walk back in the dark and alone at night,” she told The New Daily.
“I wouldn’t do that as a normal woman, not even an MP, because I don’t feel safe.
“I am not going to park in the dark, in a car park, at night.”
However, she has been cleared of breaching the rules by attending a Bruno Mars concert interstate with a friend, one of the final blows before she announced she would not contest the next election.
Ms Husar could not confirm if one personal trip related to a trip to her divorce lawyer.
“Some $309 for taxis or Comcar expenses were identified as personal. These were claimed as an error,” Ms Husar said.
Ms Husar also made the point that in reviewing her total expenses, which amounted to more than $100,000, the total breaches were modest.
The review also confirmed she had failed to claim for $1900 in expenses she was eligible to claim and an underpayment for a trip to Adelaide. They cannot be claimed retrospectively.
The backbench MP referred herself to IPEA in August, in an attempt to contain a scandal about her expenses.
It was partly fuelled by former staff members who complained about her behaviour in the office and participated in a workplace investigation that heard lurid claims – that were not found to be substantiated – that she had exposed herself to a Labor frontbencher Jason Clare.
The “Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct” allegations that she uncrossed her legs, when she was not wearing underwear. were completely denied by Ms Husar and Mr Clare and are now the subject of a defamation action that Ms Husar has launched against Buzzfeed.
The claim was made by a former staff member.
Ms Husar’s defamation lawyer has argued Ms Husar, a single mother of three children, was “slut shamed” in the articles and is seeking damages.
Before the final report into claims of workplace bullying was finalised, Ms Husar announced she would not recontest the marginal seat of Lindsay, in Sydney’s western suburbs, for the Labor Party.
The workplace investigation later found there was no basis for her to resign over bullying allegations, but found that some of her workplace management of staff was unreasonable.
In the wake of that finding, Ms Husar later changed her mind about her resignation, but was blocked by the ALP from running again and has hinted she may yet run as an independent.