Julia Banks, the former Australian government MP says a current cabinet minister at Parliament House touched her inappropriately. Ms. Banks made these allegations in a memoir. She said that the male MP moved his hand up her leg during a vote session in parliament.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s office said that they were not aware of the allegations previously. They said such kind of behavior is completely inappropriate. In an excerpt from her memoir, Ms. Julia Banks also said she did not identify the man who was still in the cabinet.
She said that she herself and the other government MPs were waiting for the night-time parliament vote. The minister came and sat next to her and put his hand, “just above my knee and edged slowly and deliberately to my inner thigh and then further up my leg”.
However, it was quite unbelievable for her to think something coming from a minister, and that’s too at the room full of Coalition MPs.
The allegations of Julia Banks have been highlighted as the treatment of women in the conservative government of Mr. Morrison. The separate allegations of rape in the Parliament House against a senior government minister also gave fuel to the #MeToo protest in the country.
Ms.Banks has been quite vocal about sexism and misogyny in Australian Politics. The former MP and then PM Malcolm Turnbull faced the deposing in a leadership coup that installed Scott Morrison.
In her exit speech at that time, she condemned the “bullying and intimidation” which she experienced in parliament. Ms. Banks, a former lawyer, says the parliament is decades behind the corporate world. It is clear from its attitude towards women.
She has expanded it towards the “anti-women” culture in her book, Power Play: Breaking Through Bias, Barriers and Boys’ Clubs.
She alleges that Mr.Morrison tried to bully her as she announced her departure and tried to make her silent. A spokesperson from the prime minister also acknowledged that Mr. Morrison had held several conversations with her.
The spokesperson said, “The prime minister was disappointed in Ms. Banks’ decision to quit the parliamentary party and had several conversations with her to understand what she was going through to see what support could be offered before she made her decision”.
They added that Mr. Morrison rejects all the claims about the nature of such conversations. The parliament of Australia is currently the subject of inquiry for the Sex Discrimination Commissioner.