Female politicians in Australia complain of discrimination

Jan 31, 2019

IN NOVEMBER ONE of the rising stars of Australia’s governing coalition, Julia Banks, shocked her colleagues by quitting the Liberal Party to become an independent. She was sick, she said, of her party’s “cultural and gender bias, bullying and intimidation”. The announcement was a practical blow, further reducing the ranks of a government that was already a minority. But mainly it was an embarrassment, adding credence to the increasingly common complaint that the party is a slough of sexism. In January a second prominent Liberal, Kelly O’Dwyer, announced plans to resign. Last year she had complained that voters see her colleagues as “homophobic, anti-women climate-change deniers”.

Less than a fifth of Liberal members of the lower house are women—a smaller proportion than 20 years ago. Conditions for the few who remain are rotten. Allegations of harassment have abounded since a moderate prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull...

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