Julie Bishop has made a fulminating assessment of the toxic culture in the workplace in Canberra, criticizing the "atrocious behavior" she has witnessed in parliament.
The former foreign minister spoke for the first time since moving to banking on a night of women's leadership awards.
Ms. Bishop was a contender in the three-way liberal leadership contest that saw Scott Morrison installed as prime minister. She has already resigned her position in the cabinet.
The contest provoked several complaints of harassment within the party, especially against women parliamentarians, with complaints of blocking tactics by liberals such as Julia Banks, Lucy Gichuhi and Linda Reynolds.
Ms. Bishop did not explicitly relate her claims to sexism, but was scathing about the culture of the office in Parliament.
"Do not say harden the princess, say it's enough," Mrs. Bishop told the crowd at the Women's Weekly event.
"These events have led to a much broader debate about the culture of the workplace, including accusations of intimidation, harassment and coercion and the unequal treatment of women," he said.
"It is clear that there is an acceptance of a level of behavior in Canberra that would not be tolerated in any other place of work in Australia."
Ms. Bishop referred to her previous career as a commercial lawyer and compared work cultures.
"I have seen and witnessed atrocious behavior that in a law firm I would never have accepted, but in parliament it is the norm."
The long-running liberal vice president, who survived a series of leaders' spills, said the policy was naturally "sound" and "not for the weak at heart."
And he accused the Labor opposition of exploiting accusations of Liberal Party internal struggles for political ends.
"It's not about what's good for Australia, it's about the appeal of authority and the privileges associated with the ministerial office, I've witnessed this on both sides of the office."
When Julia Banks announced that she would not compete in the upcoming elections last week, she said that she had been intimidated by colleagues from the Liberal Party but also from the Labor Party.
Ms. Bishop also said that her party needed to improve its female representation. Liberals are far behind Labor in terms of the number of women in parliament.
"I tell my party that it is not acceptable for us to have less than 25 percent of our parliamentarians as women in 2018," said Ms. Bishop.
"It is not acceptable for our party to contribute to a drop in Australia's ranking of 15th in the world in terms of female parliamentary representatives in 1999, to 50 today."