News National Bishop says helicopter flight ‘pretty dumb’

Bishop says helicopter flight ‘pretty dumb’

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Former Speaker Bronwyn Bishop admits chartering a helicopter at taxpayer expense to fly to a party fundraiser was “a pretty dumb thing to do”.

Mrs Bishop said she only wanted to travel from Melbourne to Geelong to get to the event on time.

But with hindsight, this should never have occurred, she said.

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“Hindsight is a wonderful thing. It was probably a pretty dumb thing to do,” she told Sky News in her first media interview since departing public life.

Mrs Bishop said she resigned from the speaker position at the request of then prime minister Tony Abbott.

“It was to protect him and I did,” she told Sky News.

She rejected claims that she initially refused to resign and only agreed to go following pressure from others such as Alan Jones.

Tony Abbott and Bronwyn Bishop had been allies for their entire careers.

“When Tony Abbott asked me to go himself, that’s when I resigned,” she said.

Mrs Bishop declined to elaborate on a comment in her valedictory speech in parliament in which she said there was “much more than meets the eye in that saga. But not for now”.

She said that was still not for now.

“We have an election that is raging. We have got so many more issues that are important to discuss. It’s not all about me,” she said.

“There’s always two sides to a story, isn’t there?”

Neither would she say who she voted for in the leadership ballot in which Malcolm Turnbull defeated Mr Abbott.

Mrs Bishop said she believed Mr Turnbull would comfortably win the election and Mr Abbott would retain his seat.

Maybe Mr Turnbull would have gone to the polls earlier but he had things he wanted to do, she said.

“I don’t accept that he (Mr Turnbull) is fighting for his political life against Bill Shorten,” she said.

Mrs Bishop said she occasionally spoke to Mr Abbott just to say “g’day.”

“I guess we haven’t been in the same place with the same aims at any particular point in time in recent times,” she said.

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