Australian government faces bullying, intimidation claims

2018-09-04 10:33

Sydney – Australia's troubled ruling Liberal party faced claims of intimidation and bullying on Tuesday with one senior minister saying she was "disgusted" by suggestions that women making the allegations should "toughen up".

The government has faced a fortnight of turmoil with moderate Malcolm Turnbull deposed as prime minister in a bitter party coup instigated by a hardline conservative faction.

Several high-profile women say they were bullied and threatened during the battle to sway their vote.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton launched the leadership challenge, but ultimately failed to win the top job, with the more mainstream conservative Scott Morrison selected as the new prime minister instead.

In the wake of the chaos, Liberal MP Julia Banks announced she would not run for parliament again at national elections next year, citing a toxic culture within parliament highlighted by intimidation during the leadership battle.

And senator Lucy Gichuhi threatened on Monday to name and shame the offenders under parliamentary privilege.

"I had senators and ministers in tears, that's how bad it was," Gichuhi told ABC radio, adding that bullying was not isolated to recent events, but was "a culture. This is a systematic kind of issue".

Not an isolated issue

No specific examples were given, but Minister for Women Kelly O'Dwyer added further weight to the claims, saying she had spoken to both male and female MPs and "it is clear to me that people were subject to threats and intimidation and bullying".

"I certainly don't think at any level we can accept intimidation or bullying in any workplace and that includes the Australian parliament," she said, while backing Gichuhi's assertion that it was not an isolated issue.

"I know from my discussions with the prime minister, he is going to make it very clear in the party room on Tuesday that he has no truck with bullying."

After Banks initially made the allegations, some within the Liberal party denied there was a problem, while others reportedly told her to toughen up.

"Frankly, I'm a little bit disgusted by that," said O'Dwyer.

Dutton, who retained his home affairs portfolio despite initiating the leadership coup, said he was not aware of any of his supporters acting inappropriately.

"I think in these times you get robust conversations between people," he told Network Seven.

"I am not aware of any facts where people have done that (bullying). As I say, I wouldn't condone it."

Read more on:    australia  |  politics

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.