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Marginal seat Liberal quits over bullying, leadership change

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Victorian Liberal MP Julia Banks has blamed bullying from within her party and the bitter leadership battle for her decision to quit parliament at the next election.

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Banks, who holds the marginal seat of Chisholm in Melbourne’s east, said she felt compelled to call out bad behaviour within the Liberal Party, and would not tolerate bullying or intimidation.

“I have experienced this both from within my party and from the Labor Party,” she said today.

The backbencher agreed with hundreds of people who had told her they wanted Malcolm Turnbull to remain prime minister, opposing his dumping on Friday.

“I have always listened to the people who elected me and put Australia’s national interest before internal political games, factional party grudges, self-proclaimed powerbrokers and certain media personalities who bear vindictive, mean-spirited grudges,” Banks said.

“Last week’s events were the last straw.”

Banks vowed to continue fighting for gender equality, launching a pre-emptive strike on any criticism she was playing the gender card.

“Women have suffered in silence for too long and in the last twelve months, the world has seen many courageous women speak out,” she said.

Banks said she will take a few days leave before parliament resumes on September 10, citing the enormous emotional toll the political upheaval had taken on her.

The first-term MP holds the marginal seat of Chisholm by just 1.24 per cent.

Former minister Craig Laundy is also weighing up whether to leave politics after the bitter fallout from the tumultuous week of leadership tensions.

Turnbull will resign his Sydney seat of Wentworth on Friday, triggering an October by-election.

– AAP

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