Australia

Julie Bishop praises Julia Banks, says Liberals have gender problem

0:00

Julie Bishop is standing by colleague Julia Banks.

Julie Bishop has described colleague Julia Banks as a "strong, sensible centrist" while calling on her party to improve its female representation.

Ms Banks revealed on Monday that she was quitting the Coalition and joining the crossbench, excoriating the "reactionary right-wing" within the Coalition.

"[Ms Banks' move to the crossbench] does highlight the fact the Liberal party needs and should have more female representation," Ms Bishop told the Future Realised Conference on Tuesday night.

Ms Bishop added that "no political party could meet its potential" without seeking to achieve 50-50 gender representation.

Julia Banks and Julie Bishop during Question Time in the House of Representatives.
Julia Banks and Julie Bishop during Question Time in the House of Representatives.
AAP

The former foreign minister said, "we need to put the interests of the people first, have sensible debates about issues of concern to people and I think the Australian people would respect enormously the politicians who say I'm actually going to tell you the truth as opposed to what I think you want to hear".

Ms Bishop said institutions lack the trust of the people because the public can see through them.

Now on the backbench, Ms Bishop has called on politicians to be more honest with voters.
Now on the backbench, Ms Bishop has called on politicians to be more honest with voters.
AAP

"Politicians have to honour their commitments. People have to speak honestly with the Australian people.

"The public can pick a fake, they can pick inauthenticity, they want to hear the truth, they want to hear the facts. I think they are over populist policies and promises that can't or won't be kept."

She pointed to a study by the Washington based Pew Research Centre which found that only seven per cent of Australians had a high level of trust that the federal government would do the right thing by the country.

And she fears Australia as a nation is also losing its ability to talk about difficult topics.

"I am disturbed that for a number of reasons a civil national conversation on controversial issues is proving difficult here," she said.

"I'm not blaming the media cycle but there's no question that 24/7 media requires constant updates, constant content."

Discussion tends to be very short term without deep term analysis, she said.

Even having a discussion about nuclear power, given the predicted impact of climate change, is impossible, Ms Bishop said.

"We cannot even raise it in an inquiry, it's automatically off the table. As a former science minister I find that utterly frustrating. Have a debate, have a discussion," Ms Bishop said.

Ms Bishop also took aim at populist policies which are used to score political points at the detriment of the long term good.

"We all need votes, we all want to have popular policies, we need to get elected to be able to implement them," Ms Bishop said.

"But if you know that what you are saying is actually going to have a negative impact long term then you really have to ask yourself about the value of that populist policy," she said.

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch