15 Sep 2015

'Toughest thing I ever had to do' - Deputy Liberal Leader

1:44 pm on 15 September 2015

Deputy Liberal Leader Julie Bishop has become emotional reliving her role in last night's dramatic leadership coup.

Australian Prime Minister designate Malcolm Turnbull and Deputy Prime Minister designate Julie Bishop.

Australian Prime Minister designate Malcolm Turnbull and Deputy Prime Minister designate Julie Bishop. Photo: AAP

Malcolm Turnbull will be sworn in as the 29th prime minister of Australia today after defeating Tony Abbott in a Liberal leadership ballot last night.

Despite moving against Mr Abbott, Ms Bishop was returned in the deputy leadership ballot, beating rival Cabinet Minister Kevin Andrews 70 votes to 30.

Ms Bishop has conducted a string of television interviews in the aftermath of last night's decision.

"It's the toughest thing I've ever had to do in political life," she told Sky News.

In an interview with Channel Nine, she has revealed the emotional toll of her decision.

"I'm not enjoying this, it's a very difficult time," she said.

When asked about Mr Abbott's mindset and reaction following the ballot, Ms Bishop looked visibly upset.

"He was calm, he was obviously very hurt. Emotionally this is a very draining time for people and I feel for Tony and I feel for Margie and his daughters. I knew them well," she said.

"I know what stresses and strains the leadership were under. It was a very difficult time for him, of course, it was very emotional for everyone involved.

"I think there were tears shed."

Ms Bishop has defended her part in rolling Mr Abbott, saying it was the will of the party to make a change, and she was the messenger.

"The party room has spoken," she said.

"I did what a deputy has to do and that is reflect to the leader what I understood to be the views of the party, they were in fact the views because the party room voted for Malcolm Turnbull as the leader last night.

"Being the deputy brings certain obligations and responsibilities and one of those is to keep the leader informed of the views of the backbench and that's what I did."

Ms Bishop said Mr Abbott was given space to make improvements after the February leadership spill motion, which he survived.

"I'm aware of the parallels [with Labor]. It's a very volatile time in Australian politics," she said.

"The Prime Minister asked for six months to turn it around and seven months later a majority of the party room felt that hadn't occurred."

Ms Bishop said she was focused on campaigning for the Liberal Party to retain the West Australian seat of Canning, where voters go to the polls this weekend.

"We have a by-election coming up on Saturday. I'm very focused on that by-election," she said.


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