SICKNESS AT THE HEART OF THE LIBERAL PARTY

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
DOORSTOP
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
TUESDAY, 18 SEPTEMBER 2018

SUBJECT: Sickness at the heart of the Liberal Party.

BIRD: I just wanted to come out this morning on the back of some fairly extraordinary contributions by Ann Sudmalis yesterday about the culture within the Liberal Party.

Ann obviously represents a seat in my part of the world, the Illawarra-South Coast, and it is quite extraordinary to hear her talk about her concerns about what’s happened to her.

But what it said to me was that this is another Liberal woman talking about what is obviously a sickness at the heart of the Liberal Party and it needs to be seriously addressed.

When you are getting to the point where you’ve got a number of women now saying that they don’t think it’s viable for them to continue in public office because of the culture that they are dealing within the Liberal Party, I think the Liberal Party have to take that very seriously.

Labor has had a great record – we are nearly at 50 per cent of the Parliament being women – that makes a significant difference to the representation of the broader community and the message it sends to women about how you value half the population.

We’ve got a tremendous woman, in fact, running in Gilmore and I’ve certainly with Stephen Jones been campaigning for Fiona Phillips. She took the seat down to below one per cent at the last election. She’s been campaigning hard, she’s tremendous and, like myself, a TAFE teacher, I’m a former TAFE teacher, a local caring about the issues that that community faces but I have to say that it is pretty disappointing to see that the sitting Liberal Member has had to leave under the circumstances that she’s described.

The Liberal Party really need to look at what that sickness is that’s at the heart of this organisation.

Watch Sharon’s doorstop here.