Prime Minister Tony Abbott has a very simple choice. Sack Federal Parliament Speaker Bronwyn Bishop or it could end up costing him the Prime Ministership. I wasn’t planning on writing about the Bishop/expense scandal as the problem should have been a molehill and she should have resigned or been sacked by now. But it is turning into a mountain because of Tony Abbott’s refusal to act.
PM Abbott has failed to read the anti-corruption sentiment that is over-taking Australia as it has in other parts of the world. Or his lack of support in his own party is so fragile that he cannot afford to sack Bronwyn Bishop or he will lose the Prime Ministership. Almost half the Liberal Party MPs wanted Abbott gone in February this year and he is probably worried he wouldn’t have the numbers now if he sacks Bronwyn Bishop.
Whatever the situation is it has gone way past the point where he should have sacked Bishop and is rapidly doing damage to his position as Prime Minister and the federal government. Based on public comments by some of the Liberal members of parliament there are members of Abbott’s own party that want Bishop gone.
Two weeks ago it was the unjustifiable $5000 chopper ride that Bronwyn Bishop took that had social media demanding her sacking. Almost everyday since there have been new revelations of expense claims by Ms Bishop that she cannot justify except to say she had meetings with unknown people she refuses to name.
The Guardian reports there are another 15 suspect trips by Bronwyn Bishop and says:
“Bishop has said one of those claims – for $600 worth of flights from Sydney to Albury in June 2006 on the weekend of colleague Sophie Mirabella’s nearby wedding – was justified because she held a secret meeting with an unnamed source regarding her committee’s inquiry into work life balance. She justified another claim in 2007 coinciding with colleague Teresa Gambaro’s wedding by citing another one-on-one meeting with an unnamed committee source.” (Click here to read more)
Bronwyn Bishop is clearly lying about these mystery people she met. Her lies have compounded the amount of damage that is being done to the government and further inflamed the situation.
Tony Abbott originally stood by and tried to palm off criticism of the fraud committed by Ms Bishop. After a few days and a quick read of the polls PM Abbott changed tactics and started to publicly admonish Ms Bishop. But publicly criticising Bronwyn Bishop is never going to be enough and it certainly isn’t now with the almost daily revelations of more fraud by Ms Bishop and her lies.
No one buys the 2 wrongs make a right argument
Most people are not trying to defend Ms Bishop as they know you can’t defend the indefensible and you look stupid trying. But some fools are using the old routine of they did it too and pointing to the Labor Party abuses. Well that is a major reason why the Labor Party were kicked out of government at the last election and if the Liberal Party keep on acting the same way they will likely be kicked out at the next election.
The 2016 federal election will be a very close
Prime Minister Tony Abbott is not very popular and the Liberal Party are behind in the polls regularly at 48% to Labor’s 52% of the vote. The only reason they are not behind further is that the Labor Party leader Bill Shorten is also unpopular.
Federal Liberal Party members in marginal seats who won their seats at the last election by a few thousand or few hundred votes would be very worried. If the Bronwyn Bishop saga drags on until the next election it could be enough for them to lose their seats. Maybe they won’t want to wait until then and there will be another spill attempt against Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Bronwyn Bishop is extremely disliked as Speaker and very biased
I’ve watched Bronwyn Bishop in action as the Speaker of the House and she is very arrogant and biased and not an appropriate person to be the Speaker. I came across this video of Harry Jenkins who was the Speaker from 2008 to 2011 when the Labor Party were in power. The video shows Bronwyn Bishop upstaging Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard MP during Question Time on Thursday, 26th November 2009. It’s a very funny video but more importantly shows how a Speaker of the House could and should act.
Bronwyn Bishop MP vs Julia Gillard MP
(Click anywhere on the above video to watch)
Zero tolerance for corruption in social media
In the past if the Abbott government was a popular one there might have been a chance they could ride the situation out. But nowadays with social media driving this issue and issues like it there is zero tolerance for corruption. So even a popular government would pay a high price by standing by someone like Bronwyn Bishop given her fraud and lies trying to cover it up.
To go to the next federal election with both Abbott and Bishop still in their positions would be a role of the dice that the Liberals can’t afford being so far back in the polls. And Bronwyn Bishop’s position is just going to keep getting worse for herself and the party while she still is the Speaker of the House.
It really comes down to the fact that Tony Abbott has to sack Bronwyn Bishop or the Liberal Party will need to sack Tony Abbott to give themselves a decent chance of winning the next election. The Bronwyn Bishop saga might not be all bad as it may end up being a catalyst for real change and a federal anti-corruption body like ICAC.
Update: Bronwyn Bishop has resigned. I published the above article at approximately 12.20am Sunday the 2nd August. Mrs Bishop announced her resignation at approximately 6pm Sunday the 2nd of August 2015. Her position had clearly become untenable.
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