politics

"No better than school children." Julie Bishop on the bullying culture of Australian politics.

A few weeks ago Julie Bishop stepped down as foreign minister and announced she would be leaving politics.

Now, she’s has opened up about the bullying culture towards women in Australian politics.

Speaking with 60 Minutes, Bishop said the behaviour in parliament was “no better than school children,” elaborating that actually they were “not as well behaved as school children”.

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“I’ve had many calls from my counterpart foreign ministers who are very politely asking why I am no longer the Foreign Minister and what happened to the Prime Minister. There have been some rather unkind comments about Australia being the Italy of the South Pacific and the coup capital of the world,” she told the program. 

The former foreign minister said Question Time had a lot to, erm, answer for.

“I think Question Time probably does more damage to the reputation of the political class than any other issue,” she said.

“There’s far too much throwing of insults and vicious behaviour, name-calling and the like. And the public see that as no better than school children. In fact not as well-behaved as school children.” 

Bishop said Question Time could be quite intimidating.

“The noise is deafening it’s a wall of sound. It’s not picked up, fortunately on the microphones,” she explained. 

“But the noise has a physical impact, throughout your body, it can be quite overwhelming.

“And particularly the response, the ridicule, the insults can throw you off your game but you have to have a dogged focus to get to the end of the question or the answer.”

Bishop admitted that Australian politics does have a gender issue.

“I have been in a Cabinet where I was the only female and then five female colleagues joined me and they were vastly different discussions and debates,” she said. 

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