In the week since she announced her resignation from the role of foreign minister, Julie Bishop has hit back at the chain of events and actions which saw her move to the backbench after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was replaced as leader of the Liberal Party.
Now, the 62-year-old member for Curtin has spoken out again, to Post Newspapers, in Perth, describing the “surprise” she felt when none of her WA colleagues backed her for the top job, after she went up against now Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton in last Friday’s partyroom ballot.
“I just felt it was best I not be part of that cabinet,” she told the local paper. “I got caught up in unbelievable conflict between the Left and the Right of my party.”
Bishop had previously denied she would run for the job but, following Turnbull’s announcement that he would not contest a second challenge if a spill motion passed, she opted to stand against Home Affairs Minister Dutton and former Treasurer Scott Morrison. However, following her failed bid, Bishop made the decision to give up her ministerial duties.
She also went on to say that the recent events could be attributed to a “Queensland influence” on the Liberal party, particularly after none of her 11 fellow West Australian MPs pledged their support to the former cabinet minister.
“It surprised me,” she said. “I always believed West Australians had a responsibility to look out for the interests of this state.
“There certainly is a Queensland influence, no question.”
Bishop announced her resignation from the cabinet on August 26, confirming she would move to the backbench following the ousting of former PM Malcolm Turnbull. However she kept tight-lipped about whether she would stand in the next election in her constituency of Curtin, a seat she has held for 20 years.
Bishop said in a statement at the time: “Today I advised the Prime Minister that I would be resigning from my Cabinet position as Minister for Foreign Affairs.
“I will remain on the backbench as a strong voice for Western Australia. I have been pre-selected by the Liberal party for the seat of Curtin and I have made no decision regarding the next election.”