News National Julia Banks takes aim at bullying and intimidation in stinging parliamentary speech

Julia Banks takes aim at bullying and intimidation in stinging parliamentary speech

Julie Banks
Ms Banks said gender quotas were the only way to ensure equal representation. Photo: AAP
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Liberal MP Julia Banks has taken aim at “appalling” behaviour in federal parliament including bullying, intimidation and harassment.

The first-term Victorian MP, who is quitting politics over bad behaviour during the Liberal leadership crisis, says the public are sick of “widespread, pervasive and undermining” white-anting going unremarked.

Weighing in on the low number of women in Liberal Party ranks, Ms Banks said gender quotas were the only way to ensure equal representation.

“They represent half the population and so should a modern Liberal Party,” she told the lower house on Wednesday night.

“Quotas are not demeaning to women and nor will women be regarded as the ‘quota girl’.”

Ms Banks, addressing parliament as many of her colleagues were absent preparing for the annual Mid-Winter Ball, she said politics was a decade behind the business world in promoting women to leadership positions

In the corporate sector, targets can be tied to incentives and performance measures, but this was not the case in politics.

“There are equal numbers meritorious Liberal woman out there in the real world as there are men,” Ms Banks said.

“It’s really simple if you only have a man running and you can’t find a woman, find one.”

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson is no fan of gender quotas.

“You’ve got people who would make fantastic members of parliament representing the people and I’m not going to say just because you’re male or female,” Senator Hanson told the Nine Network on Thursday.

“Why is she saying that? If she’s going on about people being bullies in parliament, I can tell you, I can name at least four now on the floor of parliament in the Senate who are women who are actual bullies.”

Independent lower house MP Cathy McGowan said constituents who come to watch Question Time call it a horror show.

“They don’t like the disrespect, the yelling over each other,” she told ABC radio.