Cory Bernardi, Julie Bishop and the realities of politics

Revelations that Julie Bishop’s chief of staff Murray Hansen attended a key meeting of Turnbull backers the night before the leadership coup have brought Sen Cory Bernardi into full-froth mode:

He said the revelations were making it more difficult for the Liberal Party to recover after the leadership change. The wounds, I won’t say they were healing, but certainly they were drying up a little bit. This has, quite frankly, ripped the scab off the wounds and opened up them again.

The meeting took place in the home of Eden-Monaro MP, Dr Peter Hendy, and was attended by the Liberal Party’s Malcolm Turnbull, Wyatt Roy, Arthur Sinodinos, Mitch Fifield, Mal Brough, James McGrath and Scott Ryan.

Poor old Cory doesn’t seem to understand what happens during a political coup.

Karl Theodor von Piloty Murder of Caesar 1865
Karl Theodor von Piloty Murder of Caesar 1865

Just before it happens, everybody is trying to act normally, a lot of plotting, grovelling and muttering in the background.

Then the merde hits the fan and it’s on for one and all, every man  (and woman) for himself (or herself) and the devil take the hinder most.

Vincenzo Camuccini The Death of Caesar  1798
Vincenzo Camuccini The Death of Caesar 1798

I thought I had explained it quite clearly in my blog Julie Bishop: Traitor, loyal deputy would just a normal Machiavellian politician but clearly Cory wasn’t paying attention

So here’s a view from the outside may help Corey understand.

First thing, Bishop has been deputy leader of the Liberal party since 2007, serving under Brendan Nelson, Malcolm Turnbull, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull again. You don’t get to have a survival record like that without having pretty finely tuned political antennae.

Second thing, of course guilty Bishop member challenge to have its leadership and she had almost certainly told Turnbull she would support him.  It was the only sensible thing to do.

Third thing to suggest that had Tony Abbott is known that the coup was imminent he would have been able to do something about it is nonsense. He couldn’t have. His number was up from the challenger-less challenge beginning of the year. He was told of things didn’t improve, he would be replaced.

They didn’t and he was.

The reason that Turnbull is enjoying such popularity in moment is that everybody was hardly sick and tired of Abbott and his fellow travellers. Now that they’ve gone, there is  almost no hope there will ever be able to return.

Outrage at the fact that Hansen attended a meeting of the plotters has provoked a predictable reaction with Bernardi, Eric Abetz and Peter Dutton indignantly outraged and making statements to the media.

The three unwise monkeys: seeing evil hearing evil and speaking evil
 

The three unwise monkeys: seeing evil hearing evil and speaking evil

 

Bernardi has been threatening to take his bat and ball and go home for some time and Abetz has made it quite clear he is unhappy with the change of leadership.  Both are probably at the end of their political careers and certainly the end of their political usefulness. But the surprise was that Peter Dutton joined in. Clearly, not the sharpest political knife in the drawer, Dutton can expect to be called into the boss’s office from a little chat in the near future.

An acrimonious revisiting of the leadership coup does nobody in the Liberal party any good. Most Liberal MPs have moved, one imagines quite thankfully, on.

Bishop, of course, was unfazed by the whole affair, neatly deflecting all the questions and Malcolm Turnbull said her response was what would be expected from a skilled diplomat and lawyer. Many people would say these were just weasel words but we don’t want to split hairs. But every now and then the Prime Minister morphs into the artful dodger.

A r

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