MP Julia Banks has pretty sensationally defected from the Liberal Party to sit in the House of Representatives as an independent, meaning Prime Minister Scott Morrison is now even further from leading a majority government.
In a statement delivered in the lower house just after midday, Banks said the “dark days” of August’s leadership spill contributed to her decision to leave the party and sit on the crossbench.
That wasn’t the only issue on her mind, though. Banks posted a statement on her website, saying “across both major parties the level of regard and respect for women in politics is years behind the business world,” and called for a “an independent and whistleblower system as found in many workplaces to enable reporting of misconduct of those in power without fear of reprisal or retribution.”
She also said the Coalition’s values are now out of synch with her own, saying “the Liberal party has changed.
“Largely due to the actions of the reactionary and regressive right wing who talk to themselves rather than listening to the people.”
Banks said she would continue to support the Liberal Party from the crossbench, and will make a decision on her future in 2019.
Regardless, her departure is a massive blow the Coalition, which is facing some extremely concerning poll numbers and the knowledge that Labor absolutely dominated last weekend’s Victorian state election.
It’s not exactly a surprise, mind you. In late August, Banks announced that she would not be seeking reelection to the seat of Chisholm at the next federal election, despite pretty handily flipping the electorate from Labor in 2016.
In a statement released at the time, Banks said she had experienced “bullying and intimidation” amid the leadership chaos.
Fun times ahead, folks.