Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bishop quits as Aussie foreign minister after Turnbull coup



Bishop quits as Aussie foreign minister after Turnbull coup

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Julie Bishop arrives for a Liberal Party meeting in Canberra on August 24. AFp

Bishop quits as Aussie foreign minister after Turnbull coup

FOREIGN Minister Julie Bishop, a rare female voice in the Australian government, said on Sunday that she was quitting the frontbench after a failed tilt at the nation’s top job during a messy party-room coup.

The deputy chief of the Liberal Party, Bishop had put her hand up to be one of three candidates to replace former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull in Friday’s leadership challenge, but received minimal support from colleagues even as opinion polls pointed to her popularity among voters.

Her departure has raised questions about whether she fell victim to party politics and a perceived glass ceiling for women in Canberra.

“I will be resigning from my cabinet position as Minister for Foreign Affairs”, Bishop said in a statement, signalling her intention to remain on the backbench.

A moderate, she reportedly garnered only 11 votes out of 85 in the leadership ballot – significantly lower than the two other rightwing challengers, coup instigator Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Treasurer Scott Morrison.

A leaked WhatsApp chat between some Liberal members, revealed by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Sunday, showed them pushing against voting for Bishop as a tactic to back Morrison, who finally emerged as the winner.

Australia has endured a turbulent period in politics that has seen six changes in the top job in 11 years.

The chaos has highlighted not just the infighting within the two major parties – Liberals and Labor – but also how politicians and the electorate view women in power.

One of the casualties was Labor’s Julia Gillard, Australia’s first female leader, who constantly battled misogyny and made international headlines for her fiery rebuttal of then Liberal opposition leader Tony Abbott in parliament in 2012.

Bishop has been candid about her experiences as the only woman among 18 men in cabinet after Abbott won national elections in 2013.

“It was pretty lonely,” the former lawyer said last year, adding that she would suggest ideas which were ignored until copied by her male colleagues.

‘Tireless work ethic’

The male colleagues would suggest “exactly my idea, exactly my initiative . . . and the others would say: ‘Brilliant, what a genius idea!’” she said, putting down the behaviour to an “unconscious bias”.

“It’s almost a deafness that we still see in Australian society,” she said.

A trailblazer who was Australia’s first female foreign minister and the Liberals’ first female deputy leader, the 62-year-old was hailed by her peers Sunday.

Turnbull tweeted that she was “an inspiring role model for women here and around the world”.

Her Labor counterpart Penny Wong praised her “tireless work ethic”, adding that her “commitment to standing up for Australia both here and abroad has never been in question”.

Renowned for her steely gaze dubbed the “death stare”, Bishop’s highlights as foreign minister include her strong condemnation of Russia’s role in the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines MH17 in 2014.

Meanwhile, Australia’s new prime minister began his first full day Saturday with a phone call to Donald Trump as he set about restoring faith in his “battered and bruised” government after a tumultuous week.

Trump congratulates new PM

Morrison was sworn in as the country’s 30th leader late on Friday after a bitter Liberal Party revolt against moderate Turnbull driven by a hardline conservative faction.

The former treasurer, a Turnbull ally who upset right-wing challenger Peter Dutton in the internal party ballot, said he had had a warm chat with the US president.

“Had a great discussion with @realDonaldTrump this morning,” he tweeted.

“We affirmed the strength of the relationship between the US and Australia.”

Morrison said he shared with Trump the story of Australian soldier Leslie “Bull” Allen “who is a symbol of our 100 years of mateship”.

Allen famously carried to safety 12 wounded Americans during an attack on Japanese positions at Mount Tambu in New Guinea during World War II in 1943.

“President Donald J. Trump spoke last night with Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia and congratulated him on his recent election,” the White House confirmed.

“The two leaders underscored the importance of the bilateral partnership between the United States and Australia. They also pledged to continue to closely cooperate on priorities the two countries share,” it added.

Trump also took to Twitter to congratulate Morrison on Friday.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Full country reopening to be decided in two weeks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that if the Covid-19 situation remains stable for 15 consecutive days from the end of the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, Cambodia will reopen fully, albeit in the context of Covid-19 whereby people have to adjust their lives to

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the