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PM 'offered Julia Banks UN posting'

9News.com.au logo 9News.com.au 13/09/2018 Jonathan Kearsley

Prime Minister Scott Morrison offered Victorian Liberal MP Julia Banks a three-month secondment to the United Nations in New York, 9News understands.

The Prime Minister's Office has confirmed to 9News the role was offered to Ms Banks.

Senior Liberal sources have also told 9News it was perceived as an effort to keep the Victorian MP away from parliament.

a group of people sitting at a table using a laptop: Julia Banks and Julie Bishop on the backbench © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd Julia Banks and Julie Bishop on the backbench

Despite that, 9News has been told Ms Banks refused the posting and was determined to sit in parliament for this fortnight.

The annual bipartisan trip usually involves one MP from both the Liberal and Labor parties and starts in September, concluding in December.

The delegates normally work with the Australian Mission to the United Nations, and conduct speaking engagements.

If Ms Banks had accepted the posting, it would have seen her absent from parliament until the end of the parliamentary year.

The revelation is the latest chapter after Ms Banks launched a scathing attack in parliament last night on the culture of politics, as she called for gender quotas.

a couple of people sitting at a table: Julie Bishop, right, and Julie Banks on the backbench during Question Time this week. © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd Julie Bishop, right, and Julie Banks on the backbench during Question Time this week.

The former lawyer-turned-politician, took to the floor of the House of Representatives as her colleagues swapped political debate for frocks, gowns and black ties at the annual Midwinter Ball.

"We're talking about quotas for women who represent more than half our population. The meritocracy argument is completely and utterly flawed. There are an equal number of meritorious Liberal women out there in the real world as there are men. But they won't come if the barriers to entry and mountains to climb are too high."

Ms Banks pointed to a culture of what she described as appalling behaviour.

"Appalling behaviour is an umbrella descriptor for bullying intimidation, harassment sexual or otherwise and lack of integrity. In my political journey a culture of appalling behaviour has been widespread pervasive and  undermining like white ants."

Ms Banks also attacked the current format for recruiting women, telling 9News: "I don't believe so called 'internal processes' as they currently stand are a 'ready fix' to this issue, but rather I believe increasing representation of women through quotas will go some way to doing this."

a person sitting at a table: Julia Banks unleashed on an empty House of Representatives last night, as her colleagues instead donned ties and gowns for the Mid Winter Ball. © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd Julia Banks unleashed on an empty House of Representatives last night, as her colleagues instead donned ties and gowns for the Mid Winter Ball.

BISHOP BACKING

Ms Banks announced two weeks ago she would resign from her marginal electorate of Chisholm at the next election, citing bullying and intimidation from both sides as her reasons.

She remained silent on the matter until her speech last night which has received support this morning from  former Deputy Liberal Leader Julie Bishop.

She too has called for greater representation of women within the Liberal Party.

The former Foreign Minister-turned-backbencher said this morning: "I believe that the Liberal party should look at increasing the representation of women after all it would reflect gender imbalance across the country I think it's important we do more to attract female candidates.

"There are a number of ways of increasing female representation we must never lose sight of the fact that we need the best people to represent our electorates.

"How that is achieved people have very different views about it I have a long history, in encouraging more women to enter these particularly male dominated spheres.

Malcolm Turnbull wearing a suit and tie: Julia Banks has urged the Liberal Party to choose a woman to contest former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull's seat of Wentworth. © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd Julia Banks has urged the Liberal Party to choose a woman to contest former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull's seat of Wentworth.

"I believe in targets."

Ms Banks' speech last night opened with a story, of a young girl at a beach, skipping past her with a t-shirt that had the worlds Equality Always Wins emblazoned on it.

And while the Member for Chisholm didn't name bullies in parliament her powerfully worded speech called for action.

"There was a problem though in business and that was the lack of women in leadership positions. The business world addressed this issue years ago . I know. I was there. The political world is 5-10 years behind business in so many ways.

"It seems that quotas are only resisted when they relate to gender.  Quotas are not demeaning to women, and nor will women be regarded as the "quota girl"."

Ms Banks took some leave after announcing she was backing away from politics at the next election.

Many of her female colleagues who pointed to bullying have opted for an "in-house" approach to deal with the issues.

Her message won't be lost on female colleagues, many of whom have also voiced their views

So too have some men, backing the need for change in a party that has just 20 female MPs in a combined parliament of 226.

And with the Liberal Party tonight to decide who should be pre-selected in Malcolm Turnbull's former electorate of Wentworth, Ms Banks had a message for senior state branch figures.

"An equal number of men and women should run for pre-selection. It is really simple.  If you only have a man running and you can't find a woman. Find one. They're out there. "

And her plea ended with look back to the little girl, skipping at the beach.

"Before that little girl on the beach is an adult this parliament must be represented by  a 50/50 split of men and women in both major parties . A Parliament which truly represents the principle that Equality Always Wins."


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