The media was always more in love with Malcolm Turnbull than the Australian people.
The same can be said of former foreign minister Julie Bishop. The Liberal Party finally seems to have found some alignment with the public. They’re out of love with her as well.
In the leadership ballot, perhaps thinking she had cunningly and successfully positioned herself to the Liberal Party’s first female leader, she garnered a paltry 11 votes in the ballot that toppled Turnbull. One vote for every year she had been deputy and (tellingly) none from her WA colleagues. And boy, is she … annoyed.
Today she has recommenced her revenge attack against the Liberals, just days after silence broke out between warring ex-PMs and the current PM had some clear air.
The Australian reports that is was she, not Abbott who delivered on his famous promise to ‘shirtfront’ Putin over the downing of MH370. According to? Well, Julie Bishop, of course.
Speaking at UNSW, she said she “hotfooted” to Mr Putin as soon as his advisers left him alone at the 2014 APEC forum in Beijing:
“We spoke for about ten minutes. I delivered the message to him as forcefully as I could.
“His eyes never left my face. And they are piercing blue eyes.
“Then he said ‘so this is what you call a shirt front?’
“I said it’s more of a diplomatic button holing.”
Is this true?
Sure, why not. It’s true. Let’s more on. It isn’t important or even the moral of this story.
What it tells us about Bishop is important.
We’ve received glimpses of her true character over the years but it’s always been masked by other, more pressing concerns. Her nicknames offer a clue from those who worked closest with her.
Her ‘loyalty’ was reflected in the constant references to her as ‘the loyal deputy’, a result of the former chief of staff Murray Hansen attending the pre-coup meeting against Tony Abbott at Peter Hendy’s house. And not warning him of the coup, which was one of her roles a deputy. Loyal or not.
Her survivability was mocked by her second nickname: the cockroach.
And now, she is on the warpath. Humiliated following her poor ballot performance, hurt by the lack of loyalty from her WA colleagues for whom she had campaigned and raised money, she now has the time and the inclination to settle scores. Being a woman, she also has a protective shell. Going too hard against her can easily bring the charge of ‘sexism’ – about the last thing any sitting Liberal wants.
One final word on Bishop.
Throughout her career, she was never far from the camera. She was a constant presence on red carpets. And sporting events.
It hasn’t been reported much, but by pure coincidence she was often in Melbourne at the same time as the Eagles played. Between 2009 and 2013, News Ltd reported there were 17 occasions where Bishop was in the same city where the West Coast Eagles played away from home, including 14 games in Melbourne. Yes, coincidence.
Last Saturday, the Eagle’s number 1 ticketholder was in Melbourne for the Grand Final. She had no business being there. No official business. So instead of paying out of her own pocket, the Eagles footed the bill.
That says a lot about character.
Photo: Australia’s greatest foreign minister. And Julie Bishop.