The women and some men pushing for gender quotas in Liberal Party preselection appear to believe that it’s no big deal -- as, they also believe, it’s no big deal to start up a discourse about bullying in the party. But acting as if both initiatives can simply be added onto a liberal philosophy, shows how unreflective the party has become about its own beliefs.

There’s nothing contrary to liberalism in the idea that gender quotas should be adopted in an organisation. But it’s a specific type of liberalism -- social liberalism -- that underpins such a belief, and for decades the home of social liberalism has been in Labor or progressive parties. In the late 1980s, the Liberal Party cleaved decisively to the modern right vision, of free market liberalism, twinned with social-political conservatism, of either a light or dark blue hue.