News National Bronwyn Bishop criticised for recontesting seat
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Bronwyn Bishop criticised for recontesting seat

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Senior Liberal figures have criticised Bronwyn Bishop for choosing to stand for re-election.

In December, the former Speaker announced she would recontest the seat of Mackeller, which she has held since 1994, despite the expenses scandal, dubbed “choppergate”, that forced her to resign.

Former Liberal leader John Hewson said Ms Bishop had been “totally discredited” by revelations she charged taxpayers for a $5000 helicopter ride from Melbourne to Geelong to attend a Liberal party fundraiser.

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“You’ll probably have to carry her out in a box,” Mr Hewson told ABC radio on Tuesday.

“She doesn’t think she’s done anything wrong, she doesn’t see that she’s been totally discredited or [will] probably go down in history as a poor minister and the most biased speaker of all time.

“It will look particularly bad in my view, where I think if you create a new impression of a new and dynamic government, the more new and dynamic people you can bring in, I think would be a good thing.”

Former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett said Ms Bishop had brought “great discredit” to herself and the government and should not recontest.

“She brought great discredit to herself, she brought great discredit to the government, she brought greater discredit to her leader who installed her in the speakership and put her own interests before his or party or perhaps even the community, which to me was an indication that the hourglass has run out,” Mr Kennett told ABC Radio.

Ms Bishop was appointed to the Speakership at the behest of former PM Tony Abbott.

Mr Abbott defended his friend and ally for weeks before finally telling her to resign. It was reported last year that she voted for Abbott’s foe, the current PM Malcolm Turnbull, in the subsequent leadership ballot out of spite.

Ms Bishop began her long political career as a NSW Senator in 1987 before transitioning to the federal lower house in 1994. She has held the seat of Mackellar for all of her terms in Canberra.

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