PM defends Liberals' handling of bullying

Prime Minister Scott Morrson has warned he won't tolerate bullying within the Liberal Party after first-term MP Julia Banks announced she's leaving politics.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a Child care centre in Sydney.

Scott Morrison says he's asked Minister for Women Kelly O'Dwyer to look into claims of bullying (AAP) Source: SBS

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is adamant he's handling bullying claims within the Liberal Party after a Labor frontbencher warned of a toxic culture for women in federal parliament.

First-term Liberal MP Julia Banks won't recontest her marginal seat at the next election, blaming bullying and intimidation from colleagues during the Liberals' leadership chaos.

Mr Morrison said he had been in close contact with senior colleagues, including Minister for Women Kelly O'Dwyer, to handle the claims.

"I have no truck with bullying, whether it's in the classroom, whether it's in the workplace, whether it's in a parliament and all of my colleagues know that," he told reporters in Sydney on Sunday.

But Labor's Clare O'Neil believes her political opponents aren't doing enough to counter what she says is an increasingly toxic environment for female parliamentarians.

She pointed to senior Liberals who suggested Ms Banks needed to toughen up.

"I look at the other side of politics and I see Julia Banks' situation and I think who will drive that culture within that party to make sure that women feel valued and have a voice," Ms O'Neil told the ABC.

She said if she felt badly treated in parliament she would contact Labor's two most senior female parliamentarians.

"If there was bullying and intimidation put on me as a member of parliament, I would pick up the phone, I would call Penny Wong and call Tanya Plibersek and there would be a nuclear Armageddon on the person who did this to me."

Labor MP Emma Husar will also leave politics after one term in parliament following allegations of sexual harassment that were found to be untrue.

Ms Husar, who was found to have behaved unreasonably towards staff, said she was forced to quit after being "slut-shamed".

Ms O'Neil said Ms Husar's treatment was "gendered" but defended Labor's record of supporting women.

"I think her situation was a bit more complicated. I think there's acknowledged wrongdoing on both sides," Ms O'Neil said.

"I'm not claiming that the Labor Party are perfect here, but you've got to say that we're having a crack at fixing the problem and I don't see the same being done on the other side of politics."

3 min read
Published 2 September 2018 at 2:20pm
Source: AAP