Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bishop Shafted, Hockey Scores

Deputy Leader of the Federal Liberal party, Julie Bishop, has resigned as Shadow Treasurer, and taken up the post of Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Her move came after considerable destabilizing from within. Ms Bishop had been ineffective, and made fundamental economic mistakes, as Shadow Treasurer. Joe Hockey, who has replaced her as Shadow Treasurer, is one who spoke to the media last week about the need for Ms Bishop to go. It was said publicly that she could remain as Deputy Leader if she went. Julie Bishop was shafted, because the quiet approach didn't work - it almost never does with politicians.

Ms Bishop said it was her decision to resign as Shadow Treasurer. But sometimes the decisions are made for you, by others. So, too, with her choice of portfolio - Shadow Minister for Foreign affairs: given Australia's, and the world's focus on matters economic, Ms Bishop will not have to say much.

It might well be that her tenure as Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party is shaky. A Deputy with a relatively low profile, and not much to say, probably won't be Deputy for very long.

For his part, Joe Hockey has a softer (cuddlier?) media image, presents as more personable than Ms Bishop, and has promised support from former Treasurer Peter Costello. That might make Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull rather nervous. Costello might "groom" Hockey for a leadership spill, with either Hockey as leader & Costello as king-maker; or Costello as leader & Hockey as Deputy leader. Costello has his own concerns - the Party wants to clean out non-contributing or non-performing members from high-profile, safe, seats.
(Picture: abc.net.au)

In all these scenarios, there are plenty of undercurrents within the Federal Liberal Party.