Liberal women take the heat out of bullying debate – Politics



Posted

September 12, 2018 17:28:23

Women within the Liberal Party are backing away from previous threats and comments they have made about party bullies.

Key points:

  • Liberal senator Linda Reynolds says she won’t make any further public comment about bullying during the leadership spill
  • Senator Reynolds had slammed bullying during a speech to the Senate last month
  • Another Liberal senator, Lucy Gichuhi, has also shelved her threat to name and shame bullies

The party’s culture has come into question after Victorian MP Julia Banks announced she was quitting politics following “bullying and intimidation” from colleagues during the leadership spill.

Liberal senator Linda Reynolds, who called out bullying and intimidating behaviour in the Senate last month, now says that is not the appropriate forum to air the issue.

“If we are truly going to deal with the issues faced by many women in the workplace, cheapening it through theatrical politics here in Question Time, it doesn’t assist the women in my party, it doesn’t assist the women in this chamber and it certainly does not assist the women in any workplace in this country,” Senator Reynolds said.

The ABC understands Senator Reynolds, who is now the Assistant Minister for Home Affairs, was one of the women who was put under pressure during the leadership challenge.

But she told the Senate today was the last time she planned to discuss the bullying claims publicly.

“It is not because I’m giving up the fight,” she said.

“It’s because I believe the appropriate way to do that, to get meaningful change, is within my party.”

She’s not the only female politician softening their stance.

Last week, Liberal senator Lucy Gichuhi threatened to name and shame the bullies. But she has now shelved that threat.

After a conversation with the Prime Minister, Senator Gichuhi has decided to give Scott Morrison a chance to assert authority and discipline within the party.

And last night, Mr Morrison told the ABC’s 7.30 program Senator Gichuhi had told him she was not targeted by politicians during the leadership spill.

“When I spoke to Senator Gichuhi, she made it very clear to me that in terms of the events here in Canberra and the spill of the leadership, she told me very plainly that she was not bullied by anybody here in Canberra in relation to that matter,” he said.

Labor has been upping the pressure on the Government over the bullying claims.

In Senate Question Time today, the Opposition grilled Finance Minister Mathias Cormann about what had prompted Senator Gichuhi to change her tune, and questioned whether she had been given a pre-selection guarantee in exchange for her silence.

After Question Time, Senator Reynolds said Labor was making “cheap political capital” out of an important issue.

“For those opposite, I would ask and I would plead, if you want to see a better future for women within this chamber, stop politicising it and making it even harder for us on this side to deal with it,” she said.

Topics:

government-and-politics,

women,

federal-government,

federal-parliament,

liberals,

australia



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