“I will remain on the backbench as a strong voice for Western Australia”
This past week in Australian politics saw a change of Prime Ministership from Malcolm Turnbull to Scott Morrison, initiating a shakeup in the frontbench, the details of which are expected to be confirmed by the new Prime Minister this afternoon.
Julie Bishop, who was Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party for 11 years, lost this post after contesting the leadership ballot in a three-way contest against Peter Dutton and Scott Morrison in which she was knocked out in the first round with only 11 of the 85 votes.
— Bevan Shields (@BevanShields) August 26, 2018
Initial reports from the Sydney Morning Herald indicated Bishop would quit Parliament at the next election, but she has since confirmed via Twitter that she is currently undecided.
Today I advised the Prime Minister that I will be resigning from my Cabinet position as Minister for Foreign Affairs.
It has been an honour. pic.twitter.com/v5ueRw5W5L
— Julie Bishop (@JulieBishopMP) August 26, 2018
This is a significant development for the future of the Liberal Party, as Bishop has always been seen as a champion of the ‘moderate’ wing of the Party who have contributed to its leftward drift in recent years.
Bishop was extremely friendly with Hillary Clinton and as Foreign Minister continued funnelling millions of Australian taxpayer dollars into the scandal-plagued Clinton Foundation. These donations preceded Julie Bishop’s appointment to the Foreign Ministry, but continued under her watch and only stopped in November 2016 when an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation was launched and it was revealed to have “spent over $50 million on travel”.
— Julie Bishop (@JulieBishopMP) May 12, 2018
Also of note are her plethora of donors with links to the Chinese Government. This issue blew up in her face when she attempted to attack the Labor Party over Chinese influence on Australian politics.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald:
“Several of the donations have been obscured by the channeling of funds via executives or related companies, or by the donors’ failure to disclose them to the Australian Electoral Commission, in apparent breach of Commonwealth law.”
On Sunday, Education Minister Simon Birmingham called Ms Bishop “the most significant woman in the history of the Liberal Party”. Mr Turnbull described his longtime friend as Australia’s finest foreign minister.
SMH’s Bevan Shield’s also speculated she could be a candidate to replace Sir Peter Cosgrove, as Governor-General, citing “public popularity, her background as a lawyer, and working relationship with federal Labor figures.”