Prior to last week’s political implosion, Labor MP Emma Husar was under such intense pressure about claims of workplace harassment that she folded, saying she would leave politics altogether.
Yet, from what we hear, the bullying that went on during Dutton’s failed coup makes any allegations against Husar pale into insignificance.
Channel 7 political editor Mark Riley said Peter Dutton’s camp was using “thuggish” behaviour to lift its numbers on Wednesday night.
“I saw two female Liberal MPs in tears along the corridors,” Mr Riley wrote in The West.
“I wrongly assumed they were lamenting the imminent assassination of yet another prime minister. It wasn’t until I spoke with them on Thursday that I understood what had really happened.
“They’d been sobbing in shock and disgust at the threats and intimidation they’d been subjected to by the goons and knuckledraggers trying to gather the signatures on Dutton’s behalf.
“One of them purports to be a conservative family man of traditional Christian values. To those women now, he is just a pig.”
Dumped Minister for Small and Family Business, Craig Laundy, also spoke of the intimidation used by Dutton’s camp in an interview with 2GB.
“Some of the behaviour this week… I’ve had one female senator and two female members of the house, when it came to the letter – the petition, that were physically stood over to sign it, and they refused. That sort of intimidation and bullying is something you can actually file a claim against.”
Former Liberal MP Fiona Scott said on Sky News that Liberal MPs had their preselections threatened unless they switched to the Dutton camp.
“I’ve had a couple of people having their preselections challenged against them. In relation to comments even [Queensland Liberal MP] Gary Hargrave made not too long ago, where he’s saying well if Peter Dutton doesn’t get up, the civil war will continue, we will just keep marching through, that’s not uniting the party.”
West Australian senator Linda Reynolds also spoke out.
“Some of the behaviour is behaviour that I simply do not recognise and I think has no place in my party or in this chamber, so whatever happens over the next 24 hours, I cannot condone or support what has happened to some of my colleagues on this side in this chamber in this place,” she told the Senate.
“I think the tragedy of what has been happening, I think the madness of what has taken hold of a number of my colleagues. I do not recognise the values. I do not recognise the bullying and intimidation that has gone on and I hope that whatever happens tomorrow after midday that we can find a way to get back together again.”
This is not a discussion about whether a staffer should be asked to walk the dog. This is substantiated very nasty workplace bullying and intimidation.
Yet from what I can gather, our new PM thinks we will all just move on in sweetness and light with the “new generation” of the Liberal Party which will have the architect of the bullying sitting there practising his new smile in his old position on the front bench.