5. Women of the House: Julia Banks
A minister's hand on her knee during a late-night vote at Parliament House left Julia Banks shocked. If this could happen to her, a 52-year-old corporate lawyer-turned-MP, who else is it happening to? Julia Banks opens about the sexism and bullying that lead to her resignation from the Liberal party, and this government's "women problem."
In response to Julia Banks' comments, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister said:
“The Prime Minister was disappointed in Ms Banks’ decision to quit the Parliamentary party and had several conversations with her to understand what she was going through to see what support could be offered before she made her decision. That included support for personal leave so she could take the time to recover from the upset many people suffered during that period. Several of Ms Banks’ colleagues had similar conversations.
“The Prime Minister absolutely rejects claims about the nature of those conversations.
“The Prime Minister is not aware of any allegations of sexual harassment Ms Banks faced. Any such behaviour is completely inappropriate.
“Everyone has a right to feel safe in their workplace, and the work currently underway by Kate Jenkins will continue to improve Parliament’s workplace culture.
“In addition, the Government has released the consultation report provided by Stephanie Foster PSM into the processes and procedures relating to serious incidents in the parliamentary workplace. This report has made some significant findings and recommendations to improve how serious incidents are prevented and dealt with in the parliamentary workplace. We have already taken steps to implement Ms Foster's recommendations, including the introduction of a dedicated 24/7 support line, 1800 274 778, and face-to-face education and support for parliamentarians and their staff.
“The Foster Report also provides a recommendation for an independent and confidential support mechanism. This body of work is complex, however consultation across the Parliament is underway. The Government looks forward to Ms Foster bringing back a final report, informed by those briefings, as soon as possible.”
Reported by Stela Todorovic
Produced by Sydney Pead