DAISY Turnbull Brown, the daughter of former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, has scolded the Liberal Party for failing to boost the number of female MPs in its ranks.
“It is going to be very hard to raise daughters and tell them to look to the Liberal Party for strong female role models,” Ms Turnbull Brown said on Twitter today.
“I have never been a fan of quotas, but they may be the Liberals’ only hope to win back female supporters.”
She said the “family-unfriendly” nature of parliament was “not enough of a reason” for the party’s persistent gender gap.
“You need to remove the toxic culture of parliament that makes it extremely unattractive to women.”
No it isn’t @JulieBishopMP. It is going to be very hard to raise daughters and tell them to look to the Liberal Party for strong female role models. I have never been a fan of quotas but they may be the Lib’s only hope to win back female supporters. https://t.co/fV6QMT40fo— Daisy Turnbull Brown (@MrsDzTB)
There is also something fundamentally kid/family unfriendly about Canberra, and that is also a factor in why some women may not want to be MPs, sure. But that is not enough of a reason. It is not the reason for the past 3 weeks. #auspol— Daisy Turnbull Brown (@MrsDzTB)
Ms Turnbull Brown was reacting to Julie Bishop’s speech at The Australian Women’s Weekly Women of the Future awards yesterday.
“I say to my party, it is not acceptable for us to have less than 25 per cent of our parliamentarians as female,” Ms Bishop said in her first public address since she resigned as foreign minister in the wake of Mr Turnbull’s removal from the prime ministership.
Ms Bishop stood to replace him as leader, but drew just a handful of voters, lagging behind Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton.
“It is not acceptable for our party to contribute to a fall in Australia’s ratings from 15th in the world in terms of female parliamentary representatives in 1999, to 50th today,” she said yesterday.
“There’s a lot to be done and I’m committed to helping do it.”
Just 22 of the Liberal Party’s 99 MPs and senators are women. By contrast Labor, which introduced a quota system in 1994, has boosted its female representation to 48 per cent.
Nevertheless, Ms Bishop has voiced opposition to quotas in the past.
“I do not support a formal quota system for achieving greater representation in parliament,” she wrote in a 2015 column for Mamamia.
“Most women wish to be selected on their merits and on the basis that they are the best person for the role, not because of their gender.”
Ms Bishop said Labor’s policy “offers little protection against factional influences” inside the party.
“The Labor Party embraces affirmative action but in practice it is invariably abandoned when a male union boss, for example, claims a seat that would otherwise be reserved for a woman.”
In her tweets today, Ms Turnbull Brown also took a subtle swipe at Mr Morrison, retweeting criticism of a controversial statement from the new PM.
“We do not need ‘gender whisperers’ in our schools. Let kids be kids,” Mr Morrison said yesterday.
In response, Ms Turnbull Brown said schools should “create safe environments that support all students, but most importantly, promote kindness”.
This is by far the best response I’ve seen on this. As a teacher we have to create safe environments that support all students, but most importantly, promote kindness. https://t.co/2HtnpPL6ba— Daisy Turnbull Brown (@MrsDzTB)
Her comments come in the aftermath of an even more drastic public intervention by her brother Alex, who has been particularly vocal in recent weeks.
Alex Turnbull has been telling the public to donate to Labor’s candidate in the Wentworth by-election, where his father’s seat is up for grabs.
He’s said giving to Labor would offer voters “the best bang for the buck you’ll get in political donations in your life”.
“Tight race, tight margin for government, big incremental effect whatever happens. If you want a federal election now this is the means by which to achieve it,” Alex tweeted.
Sunrise host David Koch described Alex’s support for Labor as a “big up-yours” to the government.
Malcolm Turnbull, meanwhile, said his son was free to speak out.
“My son’s 36 and he’s entitled to his own political opinions,” Mr Turnbull said.
“Now that he’s no longer the son of the prime minister he’s able to express his views on all sorts of issues in a way that he hasn’t been before.”
He would undoubtedly say the same about his daughter.