Wed, 5 Sep, 2018Basmah Qazi

"Enough is enough": Julie Bishop lifts lid on toxic parliament

"Enough is enough": Julie Bishop lifts lid on toxic parliament

Julie Bishop has delivered her first public address after resigning as foreign minister, slamming the “appalling behaviour” that occurred in Canberra in the lead-up to the leadership spill.

Bishop addressed the audience at the Australian Women’s Weekly Women of the Future awards on Wednesday night, where she said that the events that led to the ousting of Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister “would not be tolerated in any other workplace in Australia,” the Australian Financial Review reports.

Ever since the leadership spill, many influential women have come forward to blast the Liberal party’s bullying behaviour. And now Bishop is saying it calls for a “much broader debate about workplace culture” including “allegations of bullying, harassment and coercion and the unequal treatment of women".

She also highlighted the severe lack of female representation in the party, saying: “I say to my party, it is not acceptable for us to have in 2018 to have less than 25 per cent of our parliamentarians as female.

“It’s not acceptable for our party to contribute to the fall in Australia’s ratings from 15th in the world in terms of female parliamentary representation in 1999 to 50th today. There’s a lot to be done,” added Bishop.

“Our party, in fact, all parties, recognise they have a problem in attracting and maintaining women, diversity in general.

“When a feisty, amazing woman like Julia Banks says this environment is not for me, don’t say ‘toughen up princess’, say ‘enough is enough’,” Bishop said as she referenced the comments made by MP Julia Banks on how she was bullied throughout her time at the Liberal party.

“Politics is robust, the very nature of it, it’s not for the faint hearted,” Bishop continued.

“I have seen and witnessed and experienced some appalling behaviour in Parliament, the kind of behaviour that 20 years ago when I was managing partner of a law firm of 200 employees I would never have accepted.

“Yet in Parliament, it’s the norm.

“We must defend and strengthen our institutions, and we must treat our Parliament with more respect. Unacceptable workplace practices are the responsibility of us all to identify, to stop it, to fix it.”

The former foreign minister was expected to take Malcolm Turnbull’s place as prime minister, but after Peter Dutton’s failed attempt at a leadership spill, Bishop was voted out in the first round, before the role went to Treasurer Scott Morrison.

She said political parties have a long way to go when it comes to equality amongst men and women.

“There’s a lot to be done and I’m committed to be helping do it.”