Bishop still doesn’t know why Libs knifed Turnbull

The West Australian - - NEWS - Nick But­terly

Julie Bishop says she still does not have an an­swer as to why her Lib­eral col­leagues dumped Mal­colm Turnbull and backed claims by the for­mer prime min­is­ter he had the mo­men­tum to win the elec­tion.

Speak­ing ahead of a trip to the Mid­dle East where she is set cochair a ma­jor in­ter­na­tional fo­rum, the for­mer for­eign min­is­ter also sig­nalled op­po­si­tion to Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son’s pro­posal to shift Aus­tralia’s em­bassy in Is­rael to Jerusalem.

Ms Bishop, who will be in Dubai this week­end to lead a cur­tain-raiser to the an­nual World Eco­nomic Fo­rum in Switzer­land, said she watched Mr Turnbull give his side of events in the lead­er­ship coup on the ABC’s Q&A on Thurs­day night.

She said she was still be­ing asked by vot­ers why Mr Turnbull was re­moved in Au­gust and what made key play­ers such as Fi­nance Min­is­ter Mathias Cor­mann move against him. “And I don’t have an an­swer to that ei­ther. I’ve never been in­formed by any of the Cab­i­net as to why they turned on Mal­colm. I still don’t know,” she said.

Ms Bishop at­tacked the key ar­gu­ment many se­nior Lib­er­als used to jus­tify the move against Mr Turnbull — that Queens­lan­der Peter Dut­ton had the num­bers to force a spill.

“I have to say I wasn’t aware at any time that Peter Dut­ton had the num­bers,” she said. “No­body ever showed me any doc­u­ments or ev­i­dence that Peter Dut­ton ever had the num­bers so why Cab­i­net min­is­ters shifted to back Peter Dut­ton, I don’t know why.”

Ms Bishop said Mr Turnbull had spo­ken in lead­er­ship meet­ings of polling that showed the Lib­er­als were ahead in key mar­ginal seats.

One of Mr Turnbull’s main com­plaints dur­ing the Q&A in­ter­view was that though he was be­hind in na­tional polling, he was in front in polls of mar­ginal seats the Gov­ern­ment needed to se­cure to win the next elec­tion.

Asked what she thought about Mr Mor­ri­son’s idea to move Aus­tralia’s em­bassy in Is­rael to Jerusalem, Ms Bishop said her po­si­tion “hadn’t changed” from when she out­lined rea­sons while for­eign min­is­ter as to why the Gov­ern­ment was not plan­ning to move the em­bassy.

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