Three Labor senators have denied bullying allegations levelled against them in the wake of the death of Labor senator Kimberley Kitching.
Reports emerged about the stress the late senator was under within her own party following her death from a suspected heart attack, with Labor senators Kristina Keneally, Penny Wong and Katy Gallagher named in media reports as having ostracised her.
Labor frontbenchers and the three senators had refused to comment on the allegations, saying commentary would detract from the focus on Senator Kitching's life and achievements.
But in a joint statement released on Friday, the three said it was now necessary to respond given the "hurtful statements" that continue to be made.
"Out of respect for (the family) and for Senator Kitching, we have not responded to allegations that have been made, despite them not being true," the statement said.
"This has been hard, but we believed it to be the right thing to do to maintain some dignity for all concerned.
"(But) given the hurtful statements that continue to be made we feel it necessary to respond.
"The allegations of bullying are untrue. Other assertions which have been made are similarly inaccurate."
Senators Keneally, Wong and Gallagher said they will attend the funeral on Monday, following engagement with Senator Kitching's family.
"We will do so to recognise and respect her contribution to public life," they said.
"People are grieving and hurting. Our priority at this time has been Senator Kitching's husband, Andrew, her family and her loved ones. Their grief is profound, their loss immeasurable."
The statement came after a former Labor MP criticised leader Anthony Albanese for failing to address bullying accusations in the party while he "traverses the countryside electioneering".
Emma Husar, who has been a vocal critic of the Labor party's culture, levelled her own accusation of bullying against Senator Keneally and claimed a lack of support from MP Anne Aly.
"I have certainly been on the receiving end of Kristina Keneally's treatment and I've been on the receiving end of quite a number of other senior women within the Labor Party who behave in such a way," she told Nine on Friday.
"When I did face media scrutiny and a barrage of unfettered and untested allegations, I was completely ostracised by my party, by people who should have supported me.
"So I can imagine those last few months for Kimberley would have been quite lonely."
Ms Husar said Dr Aly treated her like she was in high school after delivering a speech in parliament in December 2018.
Ms Husar denied she had an axe to grind against Labor after leaving parliament following allegations of bullying.
"There was nothing substantiated. Not a single witness turned up to the BuzzFeed defamation case to support any of those allegations," she said.
"I don't have an axe to grind. What I want to see is that politics becomes a really safe place for women and currently party politics is not safe for women."
An internal party review released in 2018 found merit in complaints that Ms Husar subjected staff to "unreasonable management" through communication, demands, practices and disciplinary methods.
But the investigation found allegations of sexual harassment and misleading parliament were not supported and there was no basis for Ms Husar to resign in 2019.
"There is definitely a culture of bullying within the Labor Party", she said.
Australian Associated Press
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