Why Bishop lost leadership ballot: Gillard
LIBERAL Party votes "touched by bias about gender" must be considered in the election of Scott Morrison as Australia's new prime minister over Julie Bishop, according to former PM Julia Gillard.
The one-time Labor leader said looking into the "heads and hearts" of the vast majority of Liberal parliamentarians who voted for either Mr Morrison or Peter Dutton but not Ms Bishop in the first round of the leadership ballot would reveal all sorts of factors at work.
She said there would be votes motivated by how far the party should shift to the right, or by policy concerns.
Similarly, there would be votes based on the perceived ability of the candidates to unite colleagues or to articulate a vision for the country and votes based on friendship.
"And the list could go on and on," Ms Gillard said in a lecture at the University of Adelaide today.
"But I think one item that should appear on it is votes touched by bias, conscious or unconscious, about gender.
"What was the precise mix and the weighting of these kinds of factors in a Liberal member or senator's head?
"We don't know and maybe the individuals involved couldn't even precisely articulate it themselves."
However, Ms Gillard said there had been a shift in the national conversation about women, gender and leadership in the years since she was prime minister.
"When I governed, the overwhelming mindset of the media was to dismiss out of hand any suggestion that anything happening to me was in any way related to gender," she said.
"Now conversations about gender and leadership, including political leadership, are mainstream.
"As we meet today, there is lively discussion happening about allegations of bullying and intimidation in the Liberal Party.
"The fact such matters are being raised at all and taken seriously when they are is progress." But Ms Gillard said while conversation was good, action was better.
She said it remained "hard evidence" that while the number of women in the ALP federal caucus had jumped from 14.5 per cent in 1994 to 46 per cent at present, in the Liberal Party the increase was less than 10 percentage points to 23 per cent.
LIBERAL 'MUPPET SHOW' MUST END: MORRISON
PRIME Minister Scott Morrison has urged his colleagues to move on from the "Muppet show" of the leadership spill while renewing his promise to deal with bullying and intimidation issues in the Liberal Party after one female MP threatened to name and shame the culprits.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten has renewed his allegations of the Liberal Party having a problem with women as he highlighted that the PM's honeymoon period as a new leader had been "shorter than a Las Vegas wedding" due to ongoing leaks and disunity in Liberal ranks.
It comes as Peter Dutton rejected fresh claims that Liberal MPs were subjected to threats, bullying and intimidation by his backers during the spill.
"Australians want us to focus on them," Mr Morrison told reporters in Queensland this morning after recommitting to dealing with any issues of bullying within his party that flared in the spill against Malcolm Turnbull.
"I know my colleagues know that they need to focus on the Australian people who put them here. The events of a couple of weeks ago, I've described as a Muppet Show, frankly.
"And the curtain comes down on that and Australians expect us to get on with our jobs. That's what I'm doing. That's what my team is doing."
Asked about a no-confidence motion Greens and Labor MPs intend to move against Mr Dutton over his intervention in the case of foreign au pairs, Mr Morrison said they were simply "trying to kick up a whole bunch of dust, as they usually do".
Mr Shorten, who is also in Queensland today, which will be a crucial state to win in the looming federal election, declared the Liberal Party had a "women problem".
"First of all, bullying shouldn't be tolerated in any workplace," he said, partially attributing the current "bullying culture" to a rise in the "politics of destruction".
"I do think, because they don't have a lot of women in their ranks, now you have three different Liberal women politicians - Senator Gichuhi, the member for Chisholm, Julie Banks, and now a Cabinet minister - saying in the recent division and civil war that women were subjected to bullying in that most ugly and unedifying spectacle," he said.
"The Prime Minister can't simply say that's a matter for someone else. It's time for leadership."
Earlier, Peter Dutton rejected fresh claims that Liberal MPs were subject to bullying and intimidation by his supporters during the leadership spill.
The Home Affairs Minister also hit back at Labor and Greens MPs threatening to move the no-confidence motion against him, implying that unnamed Labor MPs had asked him to intervene in the cases of individuals affiliated with unions.
Mr Dutton this morning said "robust conversations" took place in Parliament during high intensity times such as the leadership spill but he wasn't aware of any behaviour that could be described as bullying by his backers.
"I would not condone it if it happened but these are issues that the Prime Minister has said he is having a look at," he said on Channel 7's Sunrise program.
"I think in these times you have robust conversations and I am not aware of any facts where people have done that."
Minister for Women Kelly O'Dwyer last night however said she had spoken to both male and female MPs since the leadership spill two weeks ago and it was clear they had been subject to threats, 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," Ms O'Dwyer told ABC's 7.30.
Liberal senator Lucy Gichuhi threatened yesterday to use parliamentary privilege to name and shame those inside the Liberal Party she claims have bullied her.
She claimed in an interview with ABC radio to have seen other MPs in tears during the leadership spill.
"One of my colleagues was in tears the whole day," she said.
Senator Gichuhi said it was "absolutely not" just a normal part of politics.
"I'm talking about senators and ministers who were in tears because they were at the crossroads where they could not choose, especially the ones from Victoria went through a very, very rough time because they were holding a carrot - like this is your preselection, 'hey you do this, we do that'," she said.
"I will detail my experience not only with the PM's spill, because this is a culture, this is a systematic kind of issue," Senator Gichuhi said.
"I will say from when I joined the Liberal Party, from when I joined politics … and how, what, where, I think, would be construed or would fit the definition of bullying."
Ms O'Dwyer agreed Parliament was a "pretty robust place" but said that intimidation and bullying were unacceptable.
"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," she told ABC.
"He will set the standard and bullying is certainly not something that he will accept."
Mr Dutton described the no confidence motion Greens MP Adam Bandt intends to move against him next week as a "desperate act" of an MP "trying to be relevant".
The Minister has threatened to name Labor MPs who have asked him to intervene in immigration cases as he continues to face criticism over his intervention in the cases of au pairs.
"Some of the latest representations (from Labor MPs) relate to unions that have made donations to the Labor Party," he said today.