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.