Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has reportedly complained to Prime Minister Tony Abbott after learning she is to be chaperoned by Trade Minister Andrew Robb at a climate change conference next week, an Australian Financial Review report alleges.
The report claims Ms Bishop “went bananas at the PM” and asked Mr Abbott to “please explain” upon discovering Mr Robb would also be attending the United Nations climate change conference in Peru next week.
It is alleged Mr Robb, who is a climate change conservative, was chosen by the prime minister’s office to make sure Ms Bishop does not over-commit Australia on climate change policy.
One source told the AFR: “It’s like they don’t trust Julie”.
It is alleged that Ms Bishop also confronted Mr Robb.
The conference is set to take place following recent controversy surrounding the state of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
In a speech at the G20 last month, US President Barack Obama suggested the iconic landmark was under threat.
Ms Bishop rebuked Mr Obama’s comments, saying the reef was not under threat from climate change but rather agricultural runoffs.
Speaking with media on Thursday morning, Ms Bishop said Mr Robb would be attending the conference because carbon reduction targets had ‘significant economic impacts’.
“Both Andrew Robb and I will be there because this has significant economic impacts, and so both the Trade and Investment Minister and Foreign Minister will be there,” Ms Bishop said.
“[It] underscores the importance we place on this Lima Conference because it’s where we expect to get initial indications of where the major emitters in particular will go post-2020.”
Following the confrontation regarding her chaperone, the foreign minister assumed Mr Abbott’s chair on Wednesday while he attended the funeral of cricketer Phillip Hughes.