Julie Bishop sat down with 60 Minutes to talk about the culture of parliament. Picture: Channel 9
Julie Bishop sat down with 60 Minutes to talk about the culture of parliament. Picture: Channel 9

Bishop: The world thought Australia was a joke

JULIE Bishop says Australia's revolving door prime ministership has made the nation a global laughing stock.

In an interview with Nine's 60 Minutes  last night, the former foreign affairs minister revealed what her counterparts around the world have been saying about Australia in the wake of the leadership spill, which made international headlines after Malcolm Turnbull was backstabbed by his own party and subsequently rolled.

"We seem to have lowered the bar for the reasons that one can remove a prime minister from office," Ms Bishop said in the interview.

"I've had many calls from my counterpart foreign ministers who are very politely asking why I am no longer the foreign minister and what happened to the prime minister.

"There have been some rather unkind comments about Australia being the 'Italy of the South Pacific' and the 'coup capital of the world.'"

Julie Bishop sat down with 60 Minutes to talk about the culture of parliament. Picture: Channel 9
Julie Bishop sat down with 60 Minutes to talk about the culture of parliament. Picture: Channel 9

Ms Bishop quit the frontline and moved to the backbench after Mr Turnbull was overthrown, giving her time to reflect on the diabolic events of last month that have thrown the government's reputation into disrepute and exposed a nasty bullying culture.

She said having equal male and female MPs in parliament would "make a difference" to the political environment going forward.

"I have been in a Cabinet where I was the only female and then five female colleagues joined me and they were vastly different discussions and debates," Ms Bishop said.

Reporter Chris Uhlmann asked Ms Bishop whether every male MP was in parliament on merit, to which she replied: "Well you can go through it person by person. I believe that targets are an appropriate mechanism, it's not the only mechanism but I have seen it work elsewhere."

Ms Bishop also unleashed on the childish behaviour of politicians during Question Time, claiming Canberra needs "more substance, less theatre''.

"There's far too much throwing of insults and vicious behaviour, name-calling and the like," she said.

"It's no better than schoolchildren. In fact, not as well behaved as schoolchildren.

"And particularly the response, the ridicule, the insults can throw you off your game but you have to have a dogged focus to get to the end of the question or the answer."

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and former deputy leader Julie Bishop leaving the Liberal Party room meeting last month. Picture: AAP/Mick Tsikas
Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and former deputy leader Julie Bishop leaving the Liberal Party room meeting last month. Picture: AAP/Mick Tsikas

South Australian MP Rebekah Sharkie admitted she was "embarrassed" for children to witness QT during their school visits to Parliament House.

"I've got to say I have been embarrassed at times, I have been embarrassed when I've sat there," she said.

"I might sound like a bit of a Pollyanna here but honestly, 25 million people expect better of this place."

Fellow Turnbull backer, Craig Laundy, said he used to encourage the former PM not to yell in QT, as he unloaded on the Liberal party for its 'rough and tumble' stance when it came to bullying.

"I used to say to Malcolm don't yell, talk, you know because the Australian people are sick and tired of us yelling at each other," Mr Laundy said.

"They view us, because of that one hour and fifteen minutes or other shenanigans lower than bloody used car sales people and we need to fix that."

Mr Laundy also said the wild behaviour during QT from both parties was potentially driving women away from politics.

Politicians are being called out for their behaviour in QT. Picture: Ray Strange
Politicians are being called out for their behaviour in QT. Picture: Ray Strange

"I don't think it helps. Again that extremity on my side that says 'this is politics, harden up' is just absolute rubbish.

"Yelling, screaming, standing over, intimidating, there's no place for any of that in any workplace in the country let alone in federal Parliament."

Mr Laundy's cross-party friend, Labor's Anthony Albanese, agreed, saying: "Truth is I was much more conflict-based than I am now when I was first elected cause you realise after a time you've got to work with people.

"Outcomes is what is important and scoring a cheap political point in the short term doesn't really matter all that much … no one remembers it."

 

Fellow MPs say QT needs to be ‘less theatre’. Picture: Ray Strange
Fellow MPs say QT needs to be ‘less theatre’. Picture: Ray Strange


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