Former Liberal MP turned independent candidate Julia Banks is leaving politics after missing out on the Victorian seat of Flinders at the election over the weekend. She received 14.43 per cent of the primary vote.
Before leaving her political life behind, she released a scathing statement on Twitter on Wednesday, calling out the “tribalism and toxic culture” in the Liberal party and politics.
“Sadly, the tribalism and toxic culture continued. The reprisals and retribution, whispering campaigns, personal attacks and name calling, social media rants, messages and emails from the puerile to the offensive and defamatory allegations and lies were unrelenting.”
Statement – Julia Banks pic.twitter.com/pCvNN2ZoQt
— Julia Banks MP (@juliabanksmp) May 22, 2019
Banks’ high profile departure from the Liberal party in November last year after the ousting of Malcolm Turnbull, sent shockwaves through the parliament. She declared at the time she will not tolerate “bullying and intimidation”.
She later elaborated on the reality of her experience in Canberra, saying she witnessed “an entrenched culture of anti-women behaviour” and that politics became a “house of horrors” for her.
In her twitter statement, she wrote it had been an honour to serve “under the authentic and inspiring leadership of former Primer Minister Malcolm Turnbull and former Deputy Leader Julie Bishop”.
“My hope is that the right wing conservative faction don’t continue to drown out addressing the climate change emergency nor the Australian ethos of equality for all and humanitarian spirit,” Banks continued.
“To those in the Liberal Party including current and former Members of Parliament who engaged in this behaviour, I say this: You don’t own me – you never did. And I don’t “owe a debt to you”. It’s a free country for people to run for office and to advocate for what they believe in.”
“To the haters generally whose disturbing behaviour adds to the toxic political culture, I say this: Stop.”