Julia Banks Spills On Liberal Bullying, Bad Behaviour In Explosive Interview On The Project
Liberal Party defector Julia Banks has levelled further explosive claims of bullying against former colleagues, claiming pre-selections were threatened and ministerial positions demanded during last year's leadership spill.
In an exclusive interview with Lisa Wilkinson on The Sunday Project, the sitting Member for Chisholm expanded on the previous bullying claims she made when announcing her decision to quit the Liberal Party.
Banks again named Tony Abbott, Peter Dutton and Greg Hunt as among "the prime movers" of the spill against Turnbull, and said promises were made as votes were madly chased during the frenetic voting period.
"People were making their vote based on promises of promotion or promises of ministerial appointments," Banks claimed.
"You just saw deals being made, people saying 'I’m gonna quit unless I become a minister', or people’s silence was being bought."
Banks called Turnbull's sudden political execution "an act of revenge and power" which was "based purely on self-promotion, it had nothing to do with the nation’s interest". She said she voted for Turnbull in the initial spill motion, then moved her vote to Julie Bishop when the former PM's fate was sealed.
The MP lamented that Bishop, too, has announced her plan to quit politics -- describing the retiring Member for Curtin as "the Prime Minister we should have had and we never will have".
"If you laid out the three CVs on the table -- Peter Dutton, Scott Morrison, Julie Bishop -- you'd turf the other two out and you'd say she's the one," Banks said.
Banks claimed that MPs were told "if you don't vote for Peter Dutton, your pre-selection will be severely compromised."
In addition to her own disappointment, Banks said Bishop herself was not exactly happy about the result of the leadership vote, in which she garnered just 11 votes and dropped out of the running in the first round of balloting -- and recounted a story from the day Morrison was announced as PM.
"Scott got up and made a speech and pointed to the photographs and said 'there are men up on that wall and there'll be a woman there one day'," Banks said, referring to the walls of the parliament where portraits of former PMs are displayed.
"And I remember Julie saying 'which century?'"
Banks claimed that members of the party had tried to “buy my silence". She said she had been offered a taxpayer-funded secondment to New York City soon after the spill, and added there were "reprisals and retribution" after the spill -- but declined to name any specific MPs as being responsible for the alleged bullying.
"I want to spend all my time and energy not on name calling, and that’s what the Australian people want too," she said.
Banks recently announced she would move from her seat of Chisholm to challenge for the neighbouring seat of Flinders -- the electorate currently held by Greg Hunt, who she said was a "prime mover" of the spill.
She denied it was retribution.
"No, not at all," she said bluntly.
"I’m a second-generation Mornington Peninsula family and my parents lived down here for many years."
"I’m just gonna work really hard. They’re throwing everything at it."