Julie Bishop has suggested her party used dirty backroom tactics to push her out of the bitter race for the Liberal leadership
Julie Bishop has suggested her party used dirty backroom tactics to push her out of the bitter battle for the Liberal leadership.
The former Foreign Affairs Minister, who has resigned from cabinet and will move to the backbench, questioned why her Western Australian colleagues didn’t back her to take the top job.
Ms Bishop revealed the leadership spill had been ‘personally devastating’ for several key players – and said she was aware of a leaked WhatsApp thread which urged her supporters to vote for Scott Morrison in the ballot.
The bombshell messages, released by ABC’s Insiders program, showed key party members – calling themselves ‘Friends of Stability’ – were told to vote with their heads, not their hearts.
‘[Mathias] Cormann rumoured to be putting some WA votes behind Julie Bishop in round one,’ Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher is said to have written to the group.
‘Be aware that this is a ruse trying to get her ahead of Morrison so he drops out and his votes go to [Peter] Dutton. Despite our hearts tugging us to Julie we need to vote with our heads for Scott in round one.’
The messages accused Senator Cormann off trying to set up a two-way contest between Ms Bishop and Mr Dutton, which the Home Affairs Minister would likely win.
‘You would have to ask the individuals involved but it appeared to be a tactic to promote Peter Dutton into the prime ministership, whatever the cost,’ Ms Bishop told The West Australian.
Mathias Cormann is accused of attempting to set up a two-way contest between Ms Bishop and Mr Dutton
Leaked WhatsApp messages (pictured) appeared to expose the betrayal of Ms Bishop during her run for the top job
One Western Australian MP said they felt tricked into voting against Ms Bishop in an apparent bid to keep Mr Dutton out of the top job.
‘We were forced to vote for Scott in round one. There was a lot of people on that [WhatsApp] list who would have voted for Julie,’ they told the paper.
Senator Cormann, who backed Peter Dutton to become prime minister, said rumours he tried to set up the Dutton-Bishop showdown were untrue.
‘I can completely and categorically rule out any such tricks, as you call it,’ he told ABC News on Monday.
‘At all points in time, I’ve tried to make judgments based on what I believe to be the right way forward, and I’ve explained myself openly and transparently in private and in public.’
He said on Sunday the rumoured tactics were ‘100 per cent incorrect’.
The WhatsApp messages accused Senator Cormann off trying to set up a two-way contest between Ms Bishop (pictured) and Mr Dutton
Former Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop tendered her resignation from the cabinet on Sunday (pictured)
Members of the WhatsApp thread showed concern for Ms Bishop, with one suggesting: ‘Someone should tell Julie’.
‘I have… very respectfully,’ messages purportedly sent by Christopher Pyne read.
Ms Bishop was knocked out of the first round of voting after receiving only 11 votes. No one from Western Australia voted for her.
Insiders host Barrie Cassidy said Ms Bishop was ‘entitled to be both embarrassed and angry’.
‘In the end she was a victim of tactics and I’m sure that helps to explain why she is less than impressed,’ he said.
Mr Morrison said he had wanted Ms Bishop to stay on as foreign minister but accepted her decision to step aside.
Mr Morrison said he had wanted Ms Bishop to stay on as foreign minister but accepted her decision to step aside
Ms Bishop was knocked out of the first round of voting after receiving only 11 votes
Former Defence Minister Marise Payne, who worked closely with Ms Bishop, moves into the role.
Ms Bishop will now sit on the back bench as the member for the Perth seat of Curtin, but her political future is in doubt.
‘I have been pre-selected by the Liberal Party for the seat of Curtin and I have made no decision regarding the next election,’ she said.
Since her resignation, supporters of the former deputy have paid tribute to her career.
Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong described her role as Australia’s minister of Foreign Affairs as ‘trailblazing’.
‘For five years she has dedicated her life to our nation with a tireless work ethic and exhausting travel schedule.
‘Ms Bishop’s commitment to standing up for Australia both here and abroad has been been in question,’ her statement said.
Pictured is a list of the ministers in the group ‘Friends for Stability’, which were purported to be told to vote against Ms Bishop
Greens MP, Sarah Hanson Young said Ms Bishop would ‘have made a great Liberal Prime Minister’.
She said on Twitter, ‘I’ve always respected her ability to cut through the bull-dust, work across the political divide and got on with her job.
‘Proof the boys-club still have a stranglehold on politics,’ Ms Hanson Young said.
Kevin Rudd, a former minister for foreign affairs, said: ‘Julie Bishop has been a highly effective Australian foreign minister. It’s a hard job. Much harder than it looks. We may not always have agreed on policy. That’s normal.
‘But she has earned, absolutely, the respect of foreign ministers around the world,’ Mr Rudd said.
Federal member for Chisholm, Julia Banks said: ‘In Julie Bishop our nation has been gifted with a fine leader and a standout role model for girls and women.’
Ms Bishop will now sit on the back bench as the member for the Perth seat of Curtin, but her political future is in doubt
One Western Australian MP said they felt tricked into voting against Ms Bishop in an apparent bid to keep Mr Dutton out of the top job. Ms Bishop is seen competing in the Perth City2Surf