Australia's foreign minister quits after leadership change
Australia's foreign minister quits after leadership change
Malcolm Turnbull at his last press conference as prime minister
27 August, 2018, 01:38
How else can the rejection of Julie Bishop's prime ministerial candidacy be explained? A person more popular and arguably more experienced than any other standing member in her party? "She's been a loyal deputy and friend".
There is no sense to be made.
Her decision came after she was knocked out in the first round of the three-way Liberal leadership contest which installed Mr Morrison as PM in place of Malcolm Turnbull. She was easily the electorate's choice.
Bishop contested Friday's leadership vote but was eliminated in the first round, with Morrison then emerging as a surprise compromise victor over Peter Dutton, Turnbull's conservative challenger who brought the leadership crisis to a head earlier in the week. The crushing defeat was no mistake.
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"Cormann rumoured to be putting some WA votes behind Julie Bishop in round 1", a message purporting to be from Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher told the group.
"Be aware this is a ruse trying to get her ahead of Morrison so he drops out and his votes go to Dutton".
It is hard to grasp why choosing Morrison would constitute "voting with their heads", but the message clearly worked.
Bishop has been candid about her experiences as the only woman among 18 men in cabinet after Abbott won national elections in 2013.
Turnbull tweeted she "has been and remains an inspiring role model for women here and around the world".
Bishop's counterpart in the opposition Labor Party, Penny Wong, praised her "tireless work ethic", adding that her "commitment to standing up for Australia both here and overseas has never been in question".
The new foreign minister's big challenge will be navigating a tricky relationship with China, Australia's top trading partner.
"In particular I have deeply appreciated her commitment to bipartisanship and her personal courtesy to me", she added.
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