Former Liberal MP tells of sexist treatment in government

Then opposition leader Tony Abbott’s comments shot to notoriety immediately.
Then opposition leader Tony Abbott’s comments shot to notoriety immediately. News Corp Australia

A FORMER Liberal MP who blamed Tony Abbott's comment about her "sex appeal" for damaging her political career has called on the lingering backbencher to "clock off".

Fiona Scott, who narrowly lost the hotly contested Western Sydney seat of Lindsay in last year's federal election, has come out swinging against the former prime minister.

In an interview on Sky News, Ms Scott said the "war" within the Liberal Party had to end, and largely blamed Mr Abbott and his "backstabbing".

"We need to look at the conservatives as well as the liberals ... This war has to end," she said.

"I think some of the guys need to clock off, and I include Tony Abbott in that. I think it's time he goes."


The former MP said Mr Abbott was "undermining his own legacy" and labelled his backbench behaviour tragic.

She also revealed apparently sexist treatment during her time in government, saying when she put her hand up for a spot on the federal economics committee she was denied because she wasn't one of "the big boys".

Ms Scott attributed the comments to then Coalition whip Scott Buchholz.

"He turned around the looked at me strange, and said 'economics?', and I went, yeah economics, and he said really? and I said, yes, and he said, that's for the big boys," she said.

Ms Scott said Mr Buchholz explained his comments saying: "You know, the big boys, the ones with PhDs and Masters of economics."

The damning interview followed Ms Scott publicly calling out Mr Abbott for contributing to her downfall with careless comments about her during the previous federal election campaign.

Mr Abbott notorious described Ms Scott as one of the party's candidates with "a little sex appeal" while he was on the hustings in 2013.

Ms Scott looked embarrassed at the time but only revealed the true extent of the comment's damage this week.

"To be sexually objectified really upset my mum," she told Fairfax Media, adding that the comment had damaged her credibility.

She also accused the Liberal Party of failing to help her win her seat - one of the 14 lower house seats that fell in last year's election - because the party was relying on dodgy polling.

"We were pretty much left on our own," she said. "All other parts of the party wanted to come and help me and were told not to."

Topics:  coalition politics sexism

News Corp Australia

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