Julie Bishop has launched an explosive attack on her fellow politicians, claiming they’re “no better than schoolchildren” and the recent leadership spill has meant Australia is now being called the ‘coup capital of the world’.
Speaking on Channel 9’s 60 Minutes alongside high profile politicians, including Labor’s Anthony Albanese, former foreign minister Bishop, 62, slammed the “vicious behaviour” and name-calling during Question Time and claimed its combative nature now causes “more damage to the reputation of the political class than any other issue”.
Bishop famously stepped down as foreign minister after losing out on her bid for prime ministership during the recent leadership spill – with Scott Morrison taking the place from Malcolm Turnbull instead.
Now, speaking about the far-reaching effects of the spill, she admitted on the show she has “had many calls from my counterpart foreign ministers who are very politely asking why I am no longer the foreign minister and what happened to the prime minister”.
She added: “There have been some rather unkind comments about Australia being the Italy of the south Pacific and the coup capital of the world.”
Elsewhere on the show, she took direct aim at Australia’s Question Time, branding it damaging.
“There’s far too much throwing of insults and vicious behaviour, name-calling and the like,” she said. “And the public see that as no better than schoolchildren. In fact, not as well-behaved as schoolchildren.”
She went on: “Particularly the response, the ridicule, the insults, can throw you off your game but you have to have a dogged focus to get to the end of the question or the answer.”
However, she admitted she has been guilty of it herself, as she felt pressure in her former position to land a blow on an opponent in order to have her point heard. She said: “As a minister and a shadow minister you are judged on your ability to strike a blow against your political opponent.”
Liberal MP Craig Laundy backed her on the show too, and even admitted he previously advised former PM Turnbull not to raise his voice at Question Time.
“The Australian people are sick and tired of us yelling at each other. They view us, because of that one hour and fifteen minutes, as lower than bloody used car sales people and we need to fix that,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bishop then hit out at the lack of women in cabinet, even saying she was once the only female there. Asked if she thinks an even gender balance within Parliament would make a difference, she said it would.
“I have been in a Cabinet where I was the only female and then five female colleagues joined me and they were vastly different discussions and debates,” she said.