Ex Australian MP accuses former minister of sexually abusing her

Sydney, Australia, July 6 (EFE).- Former Liberal MP Julia Banks has accused a minister in then-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s cabinet of making unwanted sexual advances during a meeting in parliament in 2017.

Banks did not identify the accused ex-minister who “put his hand on my knee and ran it up my leg, on the upper part of my leg and then walked away.”

“I momentarily froze and then sort of walked away from that seat,” she told public broadcaster ABC.

Banks, who was then a member of the ruling Labour party, said the alleged “unwelcome sexual advance or inappropriate touching” happened in a room with about 50 people where there was “pretty minimal power disparity.”

“You can only imagine what happens to people who do not have that sort of power parity,” she said.

Banks has also written the account of the alleged sexual abuse in her book “Power Play.”

The book collects different situations of manipulation, harassment, sexism, and toxic culture in Australian politics.

Earlier, Brittany Higgins, a former Liberal Party adviser, had alleged in February that she was raped in 2019 in parliament, sparking anger over a culture of sexism and misogyny.

Several federal and state lawmakers have faced sexual misconduct allegations.

These include minister Christian Porter, who has denied the accusations that he raped a girl more than 30 years ago.

Police have ruled out a criminal probe into the allegation because the alleged victim had passed away.

Higgins’ complaints led to a probe into the work culture in the Australian parliament.

Commissioner for Sex Discrimination Kate Jenkins is leading the investigations.

Both Turnbull and the office of the incumbent Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, separately told ABC that they were not aware of any incidents of sexual harassment alleged by Banks.

Banks is a lawyer by profession who held her seat until the 2019 elections when she decided not to present her candidacy again.

Elected in 2016 as a Liberal Party deputy, Banks withdrew from the ruling party in 2019 after an internal revolt against Turnbull that ended with the election of Scott Morrison as the Prime Minister.

Banks told ABC that she left the Liberals when she realized that entering politics had felt like “stepping back in time” to the 1980s or even the 1950s, “sort of episodic moments in our Federal Parliament.”

“It was very sort of Mad Men, as I describe in the book, Mad Men meets House Of Cards. It was quite extraordinary.” EFE


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