The blatant eye-roll from Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop in parliament yesterday behind the back of treasurer Joe Hockey laid bare some of the continuing tensions in the Abbott government.
Bishop pulled the face while Hockey was paying tribute to former PM Malcolm Fraser, praising his establishment of the Expenditure Review Committee, the “razor gang” group that hunts for budget savings.
At the mention of the committee, Bishop rolled her eyes, shook her head and muttered something under her breath.
Just that morning, Bishop had been surprised to read a report that further cuts in the foreign aid budget were planned. She said on ABC radio that she would be confronting Hockey about it.
Since the Coalition came to office, foreign aid has had about $11 billion slashed from its budget.
Fairfax Media reported a source as saying “relations between Mr Hockey and Ms Bishop were at an all-time low”.
When asked about the expressive response by reporters on Monday night Bishop said she would like to keep the reason for rolling her eyes to herself.
“The mention of the expenditure review committee can have a different impact on different people at various times and I just responded to the mention of (it), that’s all,” Bishop said.
While Hockey is seen as a player on Abbott’s team, Bishop is increasingly being seen as a possible leadership alternative, especially as speculation continues that the Liberal party could revisit the leadership issue before the year is out.
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