'Appalling behaviour': Julie Bishop slams Aussie MPs

Julie Bishop. Photo: Getty
Julie Bishop. Photo: Getty
Julie Bishop has weighed into the debate about bullying in federal parliament, saying she's witnessed behaviour in Canberra that wouldn't be "tolerated in any other workplace across Australia".

Ms Bishop's replacement as Liberal deputy leader, Josh Frydenberg, wholeheartedly agrees with her remarks.

Speaking at a Women's Weekly event in Sydney, Ms Bishop described the "embarrassing circus" in the nation's capital, saying politicians showed contempt for each other and were "applauded".

"Politics is robust, the very nature of it, it's not for the faint-hearted," the former Liberal deputy said.

"I have seen and witnessed and experienced some appalling behaviour in parliament, the kind of behaviour that 20 years ago when I was managing partner of a law firm of 200 employees I would never have accepted."

Liberal MP Julia Banks and Liberal Senator Lucy Gichuhi both say they were subjected to bullying and intimidation from male colleagues during last month's leadership spill.

The behaviour prompted Ms Banks to quit parliament, and Ms Bishop questioned why her party had trouble attracting and attaining women.

"When a feisty, amazing woman like Julia Banks says this environment is not for me, don't say 'toughen up princess', say 'enough is enough'."

Mr Frydenberg acknowledged the atmosphere inside Parliament House was often too confrontational, stretching relationships and creating tensions.

"It's not good enough, is it," he told ABC radio on Thursday.

"That is something we all need to be very conscious of and to mitigate against."

Mr Frydenberg said his party needed to get more women into safe seats and around the cabinet table.

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