Andrew Bragg, the frontrunner for Liberal preselection in Malcolm Turnbull’s former seat of Wentworth, has announced that he is stepping aside, because the should preselect a woman instead.
Bragg recently resigned from the Business Council of Australia in order to run for the seat, and had significant factional support. There are reports that Bragg will instead focus on running for the Senate (which is also underrepresented by women).
Bragg wrote on Facebook that he believes the “Liberal Party should preselect a woman and my withdrawal can pave the way.”
He added that allegations made by Julia Banks regarding bullying and intimidation in the party shocked him, and that her exit from public life is a loss.
“Julia is exactly the type of professional woman that the Liberal Party must be able to attract and keep in Parliament. Her loss is an enormous step in the wrong direction,” he wrote.
He added that Julie Bishop’s comments also stirred him to act on withdrawing his nomination.
“I am also a father and a husband who wants to see professional women make it into the highest offices in the land as representatives of the Liberal Party,” he wrote.
He went on to wish the remaining candidate all the very best.
The preselection vote is due to occur on Thursday night, with three women in the race of eight including Katherine O’Regan, Mary-Lou Jarvis and Maxine Szramka.