Rest easy, folks, Bronwyn Bishop has announced she wants to stay in politics to "fight terrorism". Mark Hipgrave comments.
The funniest political story of last week occurred on Wednesday. It was Bronwyn Bishop's announcement that she wants to stay on as the member for Mackeller to help fight terrorism.
Really! She is the gift that just keeps on giving.
If you Google ‘Bronwyn Bishop’ and ‘terrorism’ you get, well, other than this announcement and some recent media reaction, (all negative, not surprisingly) absolutely zilch. So, Ms Bishop's interest in the subject is kinda recent, to say the least.
Is there a reason for this new concern for her constituents? Are the leafy suburbs of Sydney's northern beaches suddenly a hot bed of terrorist activity? Or is her concern for all of us, from Adelaide to Zeehan? Some wags have already had some cruel fun with the 'fighting ISIS via helicopter' meme ...
... but it's nothing to what she will get if she campaigns on this platform at the next election.
Some have said she is grumpy at Turnbull for not giving her a ministry in exchange for her support in the September leadership vote. Perhaps she is angling for a new portfolio — minister for terrorism?
But first, she has to convince the crusty 48 preselectors in her local Liberal Party branch that she is the best person to represent them at the next election. In the event she crosses that hurdle, I reckon the Liberals will have a real problem on their hands.
She won in 2013 with a whopping 66% of the vote on a TPP basis so, at first glance, her seat is pretty safe whatever they decide. However if the recent 13% swing against the Liberals in Joe Hockey's old and nearby North Sydney seat is taken into account, and you add a few more percent for those who might be simply too ashamed to vote for her again, the 66/34% split becomes a real contest.
Last time round, the anti-conservative primary vote in Mackeller was shared between Labor and the Greens, with 17% and 14% respectively. Fred Nile and Clive Palmer's representatives got 6% between them. I'm no psephologist – in fact I struggle to even spell the word – but I think that if Bronwyn stands again in 2016, it will be a seat to watch.
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