Bleats

Julia Banks Calls Out The Liberal Party Men And Their Stay-At-Home Wives, Sounds Like A Destiny's Child Song

INDEPENDENT WOMEN. Sing it, sister.

Julia Banks has well and truly pulled the pin and hurled the grenade at the Liberal Party bros.

The Independent Member for Chisholm, who quit the Liberal Party in November over the treatment of women, has attacked her former colleagues, and their stay-at-home wives, for the culture they’ve “entrenched”.

“Most of the men in the Liberal Party, their wives don’t work. They’re at home with the kids. Now I don’t have an issue with stay-at-home mums but I do in the sense that I believe all women should be, if not at some period in their life, they should ensure their financial independence…and not to be dependent on anyone,” Banks told The Australians Women’s Weekly.

No doubt her call to arms would sit well with Beyonce, Kelly, Michelle and all the Independent Women Destiny’s Child fired-up. I pay my own damn bills, and yeah, it should always be fifty-fifty in relationships.

Now even Banks admits that as a woman it’s not easy to hold down a job and raise a family. She had two children while working as a corporate lawyer.

“When I had Sam I was the first female senior manager in Kraft to have a baby and I remember the CEO said, ‘we’re so proud of you!’. Then the HR manager, who was junior to me, came into my office and he said, ‘now, you’re going on maternity leave so we’re going to cancel your health insurance’,” she told The Weekly.

“I said, ‘wait a minute, cancel my health insurance?’ He said ‘Yes, you’re having a baby, you’re not sick so you won’t be entitled.’ I was appalled, that was part of my package and to cut a long story short, I went into the CEO and he said, that’s just ridiculous and they stopped it.”

 

Banks is a vocal supporter of gender quotas.

“It’s really simple: If you only have a man running, and you can’t find a woman, find one. They’re out there. They represent half the population, and so should a modern Liberal Party,” she declared in Parliament in September.

But when she quit the party two months later, this is how the men reacted. LOOK AT THEM RUN.

“[MP and Dutton supporter] Craig Kelly said, ‘she needs to roll with the punches’. [Senator] Helen Kroger said, ‘Hm, perhaps politics isn’t for her’. So it was all like ‘she’s a weakie’,” Banks told The Weekly.

“I’ve seen it in the business world, where the woman is either a liar or she made it up or she’s doing it for publicity or notoriety. She’s emotional or she’s over-emotional.”

Banks – a big believer in “active feminism” – points to Former Liberal Prime Minister John Howard, and his all too recent declaration that we will never achieve 50-50 representation in politics because women focus on their caring responsibilities, as a view that’s “quite entrenched” even now.

“Men have had it all at the same time for years and years, and I think women can, too, but women tend to bear the emotional overload and the planning more.”

While Banks is yet to declare if she will stand again at the next federal election, one thing is certain: she truely is an Independent woman. Beyonce can take a seat, for now.

I Wish I Could Walk In Julie Bishop’s Red High Heels Just To Stomp On This ‘Bad Feminist’ Crap

This patronising attitude that women who love fashion are frivolous needs to stop.

In a glass cabinet at the Museum Of Australian Democracy in Canberra, a pair of red satin high heels now take pride of place. They are the shoes Julie Bishop wore to announce her resignation as Australia’s first female Foreign Minister. And they shot to fame thanks to Fairfax photographer Alex Ellinghausen capturing them amidst a sea of men’s feet.

But oh boy did this museum acquisition fire-up the Interwebs. Bishop was made out to be a “bad feminist” by some for telling the Sydney Morning Herald that she enjoyed wearing red accessories because it invokes “power, passion and fashion”. You know what? If red shoes makes Julie Bishop feel more confident in the absolute dumpster fire that is Australian politics, then all power to her.

There is this patronising attitude that any woman who enjoys fashion must therefore be frivolous. I wish I could take a stride in those outstanding high heels of Bishop’s. Sadly I’ve dislocated my knee three times now, so I struggle to make it from the taxi to the table in anything more than a small wedge. But I love wearing bright colours and batshit crazy patterns and big silk scarfs on my head at work and it doesn’t mean I take my job any less seriously. It just makes me happy, and happy makes me confident, and confident makes me productive. Just like Julie Bishop.

I see you, you patronising types.

Bishop’s immaculate appearance may steal the attention at times, but it’s her actions that do the real talking for feminism. When Peter Dutton & Co called a second Lib spill within days, she stood up to be counted. It was like: “You fellas have really created a mess here but I’m going to try and clean it up.” The numbers might not have gone Bishop’s way, but she took a stand. She was visible, on the national stage no less, and in doing so inspired the next generation of potential leaders to give it a crack. If those red heels helped shine the light on women in Parliament – or serious lack thereof – then they certainly deserve to be in a museum.

It’s all about representation. When it comes to feminism, actions speak louder than words. As Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop often invited Labor counterpart Penny Wong to join her on overseas tours. It was inspiring to see them front the press together – it was not only a nod to bipartisanship, but also highlighted female representation in general. Both women are incredibly hardworking, formidable debaters, and always appear calm under pressure. That, to me, is far more motivating than any feminist slogan t-shirt.

Total. Boss.

Everyone has a chance to take a stand and help further equality. You can call out sexism when you see it. If you’re in a leadership role you can offer mentoring to those who maybe feel the numbers are stacked against them. Managers can provide better flexibility for men and women so they can raise a family while climbing the ladder. And executives can ask themselves why they don’t have a more diverse group of thinkers in the boardroom – and actually do something about it. And it doesn’t matter what shoes you are wearing.

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