Why The Liberal Party Women Wore Red

On Monday, Parliament House was a sea of red.

Federal MP Ann Sudmalis, who made scathing accusations of bullying within the NSW Liberal Party on Monday night, wore a red jacket.

READ MORE: Outgoing Federal MP Ann Sudmalis Names Colleague As Bully

Liberal Member for Gilmore Ann Sudmalis during a division in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra. Photo: AAP.

So too did Julia Banks, who recently announced she would not be recontesting her seat, citing bullying.

READ MORE: Julia Banks Resigns With Blistering Statement After LibSpill

Liberal Member for Chisholm Julia Banks (second left) during a division in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra. Photo: AAP.

And so did Minister for Women Kelly O'Dwyer, South Australian MP Nicolle Flint, and over in the Senate, Queensland's Amanda Stoker.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Jobs, Industrial Relations and Women Kelly O'Dwyer during a division in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra. Photo: AAP.
Former assistant treasurer Michael Sukkar (left) and Liberal Member for Boothby Nicolle Flint during a division in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra. Photo: AAP.

It appears to be a show of solidarity among the Liberal party women over repeated claims of bullying. And it might have begun with Julie Bishop.

If you recall, Bishop addressed media following the tumultuous leadership spill in a pair of bright red shoes, a stark contrast to the sea of grey around her.

READ MORE: Julie Bishop On 'Life-Changing Decisions' Of #LibSpill

Julie Bishop's shoes are seen as she speaks during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra. Photo: AAP.

Red is the colour of International Women's Day, and it would appear that Bishop was well aware of the intention, sharing a tweet that claimed her shoes "said it all ... let's call a red shoe say to support gender equality."

The next day, she brought out the red shoe emoji, and it meant: don't mess with Julie Bishop.

And it's not the only time the red shoe emoji has made an appearance. A leaked WhatsApp group of as many as 20 Liberal women -- reported by The Australian -- revealed a conversation about how to support women within the party, and whether these accusations of bullying should be made publicly or privately.

Bishop told the group that she'd been asked to speak at a women's forum the following day -- in fact, it was the Women's Weekly awards, where she spoke of the "appalling behaviour" she'd experienced and witnessed in political life.

"Perhaps I'll have some insights," she told the WhatsApp group, signing off with an emoji of a red shoe.

READ MORE: Lisa Wilkinson: If Julie Bishop Was 'One Of The Boys' She'd Be Prime Minister

It comes amid ongoing conversations about quotas and bullying, as the Liberal party faces ongoing questions about its 'woman problem'.

Scott Morrison said he was confident that the bullying issue was confined to state party politics, not federal, but has requested that the federal executive of the Liberal party consider how they will take steps to ensure "rigorous and confidential receipt of complaints in dealing with those within the organisation."

He's rejected the idea of quotas.

Meanwhile, the women are wearing red.

Contact the author: abrucesmith@networkten.com.au

Photo: AAP