THE Queensland Liberal senator Sue Boyce has lamented the lack of women in Coalition ranks and expressed fears the party could drift too far to the right, as she announced her retirement from politics yesterday.
Senator Boyce, a prominent moderate who crossed the floor in 2009 to support the original emissions trading scheme, said she was retiring, after just one term, for health and family reasons.
She disputed internal claims that she would not have been preselected again because she was too moderate. ''I'm confident that on my performance and my record that I would have been preselected,'' she said.
With the moderate influence in the Coalition declining, she said she was worried about Tea Party-style politics taking over.
''We need to be on our guard that we don't end up going down the road that the Republicans have in the United States. We must continue to be a broad church,'' she said.
The Coalition continued to hit back at Labor yesterday over the debate about misogyny.
The Deputy Opposition Leader, Julie Bishop, said even if Peter Slipper were ruled eligible to return to the Speaker’s chair, the Prime Minister must block him because of text messages he once sent about women’s genitalia.
‘‘It will make it very difficult for any women to pay respect to Peter Slipper in the role of Speaker knowing the views he has of women and the offensive and disparaging statements he makes about them,’’ Ms Bishop said.
‘‘This is the test for Julia Gillard.’
Last night the independent MP Tony Windsor expressed misgivings about Mr Slipper’s suitability to return after reading the text messages. Mr Windsor plans to speak to Mr Slipper this week.