Member for Chisholm (Vic)
LIB; IND, 2016–2019
Former corporate lawyer Julia Banks won the Victorian seat of Chisholm for the Liberal Party at the 2016 election, taking it from the ALP for the first time in 18 years. A self-described moderate—economically responsible but socially progressive—Banks repeatedly called for ‘more female hearts and minds in this parliament.’
The daughter of Greek migrants, Banks represented the third most ethnically diverse electorate in Australia. She was instrumental in establishing the Parliamentary Friends of Women’s Health and, as chair of the Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs, presented a report on a national adoption framework.
Banks moved to the crossbench to sit as an Independent after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was deposed, citing this and disagreements with the direction the party had taken as reasons for her departure. Aligning herself with three other female Independents who she characterised as the ‘sensible centre’, Banks supported a bill to allow people in offshore detention centres to be temporarily transferred to Australia for medical treatment, and spoke of the urgent need to address climate change and domestic violence.
Declaring she had unfinished business in Parliament, Banks contested the nearby seat of Flinders at the 2019 federal election but was unsuccessful.