Outgoing Victorian Liberal MP Julia Banks is keeping her “options open” for a potential run as an independent at the next federal election.
Ms Banks announced in August she would not be re-contesting her seat of Chisholm after calling out “bullying and intimidation” during the successful push to topple former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull in August.
But in a letter to Chisholm residents, the first-term MP said while she won’t be contesting the election as a “member of the Liberal Party” it wasn’t a “farewell letter. Far from it”.
“It is my honour and privilege to be your elected member of the House of Representatives in the federal parliament and I maintain my commitment to be your voice in parliament,” she wrote.
Ms Banks issued a statement to Fairfax Media after being questioned about her letter.
“My focus is on my constituents and always has been, and I always keep my options open,” she was quoted as saying on Friday morning.
Ms Banks took aim at “appalling” behaviour in federal parliament – including bullying, intimidation and harassment – during an impassioned speech to the Lower House last month.
She said the public was 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 said.
In her address to a largely empty parliament, as many of her colleagues were absent preparing for the annual Mid-Winter Ball, Ms Banks said politics was a decade behind the business world in promoting women to leadership positions.