Emma Husar’s life in politics

NEW LIFE: “It’s still quite strange that people know who I am. I think for my kids, I feel there’s more pressure on them to behave,” Emma Husar said. Picture: Geoff Jones

NEW LIFE: “It’s still quite strange that people know who I am. I think for my kids, I feel there’s more pressure on them to behave,” Emma Husar said. Picture: Geoff Jones

One year ago Emma Husar was in the midst of a relentless campaign to win the battleground seat of Lindsay against incumbent Fiona Scott.

The days were long: spent handing out how-to-vote cards at train stations at the crack of dawn, making hours of phone calls to constituents or attending the latest campaign rally.

Fast forward to April 2017 and the first time MP’s days are still just as long, and a lot more unpredictable.

“I guess the difference between now and last year was that at least then you had structure. Now two days are never the same,” she told Fairfax Media.

The tenacity she showed during that eight-week campaign, the longest in Australian history, set her up to balance life in a combative 45th Parliament with her role as a mum of three.

“Everyone knows that Question Time is a problem” she said. “Right now we have a government which is more interested in blaming us than doing things that represent the people in my electorate.

“So when you’re stuck in a room debating things like changes to 18c when I could be spending time with my kids, that’s when I get a bit resentful.

“When I’m home I’m much more switched on because it’s rare, so I think I’ve actually become a better parent.”

Her outspokenness has made her both the darling and target of the media in the last 12 months, but she recognises that comes hand-in-hand with federal politics.

“I have a strong moral compass,” she said. 

“What you do when no one’s watching shows who you really are. I’m always comfortable with myself. For me it’s tomorrow’s fish and chip papers, but for my kids it sucks. My eldest is on social media and she sees things that trolls say about her mum.”

The 36-year-old is somewhat of an anomaly among her Labor colleagues; she didn’t finish year 12 or complete a university degree, and she doesn’t have a union background. “Penny Wong says something good about politics: ‘You can choose to not be interested, but you can’t choose to not be affected. So if you’re affected you may as well be interested’.”

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