Scott Morrison faces a tough task in rebuilding the Coalition's standing.
Scott Morrison faces a tough task in rebuilding the Coalition's standing.

Poll shows huge drop after hellish week for LNP

JULIE Bishop's resignation as Foreign Affairs Minister has been followed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison's announcement of his new cabinet.

The Prime Minister addressed media on Sunday afternoon, saying his "new generation" front bench would be an "election winning team".

But the latest Newspoll suggests a disaster for the Government, with support for the Coalition plunging to its lowest level in a decade.

The poll conducted for The Australian shows the party's primary vote has plummeted four points to 33 per cent after a week of turmoil, while Labor's rose to 41 per cent.

Labor is now ahead by 56/44 on a two-party preferred basis, increasing its lead from 51/49 two weeks ago.

Bill Shorten is the preferred prime minister for the first time in three years, coming from trailing Malcolm Turnbull by 12 points to leading Mr Morrison 39 to 33.

The Prime Minister's cabinet has former Defence Minister Marise Payne taking over from Ms Bishop, while Peter Dutton will continue as Home Affairs minister.

Mathias Cormann will stay as Finance Minister, with Christopher Pyne taking on the defence portfolio.

A key role as Energy Minister, which Morrison described as the "minister for getting electricity prices down" is Angus Taylor.

Greg Hunt will hold the health portfolio and Western Australian MP Melissa Price will take over as Environment Minister from the new Treasurer.

Ms Price, 54, had been deputy to Josh Frydenberg in that portfolio since last December.

Dan Tehan will be Education Minister, Kelly O'Dwyer takes on Jobs and Industrial Relations but keep the ministry for women portfolio.

The new minister for Trade, Tourism and Development is Simon Birmingham.

Mr Morrison said David Coleman will be assisting Mr Dutton in the Home Affairs portfolio by becoming Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs.

Mitch Fifield will continue as Minister for Communication and the Arts., and Alan Tudge will be Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population.

National Party leader Michael McCormack is the Deputy Prime Minister and holds the portfolio Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development.

The new ministry - which is notable for an absence of former PM Tony Abbott - will be sworn in on Tuesday.

"The Government's ability is being restored and we are getting on with the job and tomorrow, Monday, when you go to work, we will be going to work, too," Mr Morrison said.

He said that the new ministry brought a "strong focus on our immigration program so it brings the skills and the harmony and the unity that we want from the program.

"The minister for home affairs will focus on everything from cyber security to law enforcement to border of protection, security agencies, and will focus more principally on security tasks." Karen Andrews is minister for industry, science and technology.

Small Business Minister Craig Laundy and Local Government Minister John McVeigh have also stood down from the front bench. Former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce was not returned to the ministry, but was made special envoy for drought assistance and drought recovery.

Mr Morrison paid tribute to Ms Bishop for her work in foreign affairs.

Ms Bishop resigned after a leaked WhatsApp thread revealed MPs were actively encouraging colleagues not to vote for her in Friday's leadership ballot.

Ms Bishop said in a statement this afternoon that she will remain on the back bench "as a strong voice for Western Australia".

Announcing her resignation from cabinet, Ms Bishop said she had made no decisions as to whether she would remain in parliament following the next election.

Ousted prime minister Mr Turnbull tweeted about his former deputy, referring to her as "Australia's finest Foreign Minister" and a role model for women.

Labor's Penny Wong also paid tribute to Ms Bishop for her "trailblazing role as the first Australian woman to be Minister for Foreign Affairs".

"For five years she has dedicated her life to our nation with a tireless work ethic and exhausting travel schedule," she wrote.

"I wish Julie and her partner David all the best in whatever opportunities open up for them in this next phase of their lives."

Another, lesser-known MP also gave his resignation from the ministry ahead of Mr Morrison announcing his new cabinet.

Nationals MP Keith Pitt resigned as assistant minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, giving his thanks to the Coalition's leadership "for the opportunities I have been provided."

JOHN HOWARD ON MORRISON, TURNBULL AND ABBOTT

Former Prime Minister John Howard says "time will tell" whether Mr Morrison succeeds as Prime Minister but that he had "got off to a good start".

He said Mr Morrison's inaugural press conference as PM was "superb" and that tackling issues such as the drought was what Australians wanted.

Mr Howard said he thought the new PM could win and that Bill Shorten's Labor Party was "far more left wing, far more union-dominated than it has been for 30 years".

"More than (under former PM Bob) Hawke who never gave me the impression he was pushed about by the unions.

"I think the public wants the Liberal Party to focus on what is important … the job of being a very strong government."

Mr Howard played down the disruption of the leadership spill and change of prime minister, saying political leaders had always been dumped.

He said that Tony Abbott "has remained unreconciled clearly to his removal", and had argued "both publicly and privately … 'I got the Liberal Party into power with a 30-odd seat majority and the person who replaced me almost lost the next election.'"

Mr Howard added that he had said in the past that Mr Abbott should be in Federal Cabinet, but would not say if he should be in Mr Morrison's new cabinet.

He also said he felt for deposed prime minister Malcolm Turnbull. "I spoke to him yesterday," Mr Howard said. "I feel for him and his family.

"It's a difficult time and I wish him well."

He said that there was "personal revenge and an element of hostility in all of it".

On immigration policy, Mr Howard said migrants should be accepted from "the four corners of the world" including Muslim countries.

But he said for the moment, "I think there is a case for looking at a smaller volume for a period of time".

He said politicians and leaders had a duty to get on with all kinds of media outlets and maintain relationships with them.

WHATSAPP LEAK EXPOSES BISHOP BETRAYAL

A LEAKED WhatsApp thread shows former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was a victim of cruel tactics in last week's leadership vote.

The messages between senior Liberal MPs, broadcast on ABC's Insiders, show politicians were encouraged not to vote for Ms Bishop in the party room ballot even if they wanted to.

Leaked screenshots from the group titled "friends for stability" allege Mathias Cormann, whose support of Peter Dutton was pivotal in securing the leadership spill, had secured votes for Ms Bishop in order to keep Scott Morrison out of the race.

But the conversation between Morrison supporters shows politicians were encouraged to vote for Mr Morrison over Ms Bishop in the first round.

"Cormann rumoured to be putting some WA voted behind Julie Bishop in round 1," a message purporting to be from Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher broadcast on Insiders read.

"Be aware that this is a ruse trying to get her ahead of Morrison so he drops out and his votes to Dutton.

"Despite our hearts tugging us to Julie we need to vote with our heads for Scott in round one."

But in a statement to our sister paper news.com.au, Mr Cormann said he did no such thing.

"This is 100% incorrect," Senator Cormann said in his response.

WhatsApp messages leaked to Insiders shows votes were directed away from Julie Bishop. Picture: ABC
WhatsApp messages leaked to Insiders shows votes were directed away from Julie Bishop. Picture: ABC

 

Julie Bishop announced her resignation shortly after the messages were broadcast. Picture: ABC
Julie Bishop announced her resignation shortly after the messages were broadcast. Picture: ABC

 

The ABC also broadcast the names of MPs subscribed to the WhatsApp group. Picture: ABC
The ABC also broadcast the names of MPs subscribed to the WhatsApp group. Picture: ABC

Participants in the thread expressed some concern for the Foreign Minister, with one suggesting "Someone should tell Julie".

A message apparently sent by Christopher Pyne read: "I have."

"Very respectfully," he added.

Mr Bishop was knocked out in the first round of voting in what was a three-way battle for the leadership between her, Mr Morrison and Mr Dutton.

She received only 11 votes in the first round, including from ousted prime minister Malcolm Turnbull. None of the votes came from West Australians.

Insiders host Barrie Cassidy, who revealed the messages, said Ms Bishop was "entitled to be embarrassed and angry".

"In the end, she was a victim of tactics and I suppose that helps to explain why she's less than impressed with her colleagues," he said.

 

Julie Bishop announced her resignation shortly after the messages were made public. Picture: Richard Hatherly
Julie Bishop announced her resignation shortly after the messages were made public. Picture: Richard Hatherly

Education Minister Simon Birmingham, whose name was on the WhatsApp thread, told Cassidy Ms Bishop was "the most significant woman in the history of the Liberal Party".

"We would love to see Julie continue, but that really is up to Julie," he said. "We will all respect whatever decision she makes."

Ms Bishop announced her resignation as Foreign Affairs Minister on Sunday afternoon, shortly after the damning messages were revealed.

She said in a statement she would remain on the back bench "as a strong voice for Western Australia". She said she had made no decision as to whether she would remain in parliament following the next election.

Julie Bishop resigns as Foreign Minister of Australia in a statement.
Julie Bishop resigns as Foreign Minister of Australia in a statement.