Prime Minister Scott Morrison has welcomed reports that former foreign minister Julie Bishop is planning to re-contest her seat at the next election.
Speaking from Jakarta, Mr Morrison said his visit to Indonesia and free trade agreement negotiations were owed to the work of Ms Bishop and former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.
“We spoke about it after the change last week,” Mr Morrison told reporters.
“I think it’s fantastic to have Julie in our team. I look forward to continuing to work with Julie. I think it’s absolutely tremendous.”
Ms Bishop’s about-face was the latest twist in two weeks of revolt and upheaval that have left the Liberal Party divided, confused about policy directions and fearful of an electoral rout as the clock ticks toward the next election.
Earlier, when stepping down from cabinet, the former Foreign Minister was seen as rejecting the party that had rejected her in the first round of leadership ballots that ultimately ousted Malcom Turnbull and installed Mr Morrison in his place.
Speaking about her decision to quit as foreign minister, Ms Bishop did not deny being told she wasn’t wanted in Scott Morrison’s new cabinet, Post Newspapers in Perth reported.
“I just felt it was best I not be part of that cabinet,” Ms Bishop said.
The 62-year-old didn’t say whether her position was offered to someone else in exchange for a vote.
“I’m sure someone else could say,” she said, adding that she “got caught up in” an “unbelievable conflict between the left and the right of my party.”
Ms Bishop, who will stay in parliament on the back bench as the member for the Perth seat of Curtin, was disappointed none of the other 11 federal MPs from WA voted for her in the August 24 leadership vote.
“It surprised me,” she said.
“I always believed West Australians had a responsibility to look out for the interests of this state.
“There certainly is a Queensland influence, no question.”
Ms Bishop said she believed she had the policy depth and experience for the top job, and the ability to put together a good team.
Ms Bishop ended her five years as foreign minister two days after her ill-fated leadership bid, also drawing a line under a decade as the Liberals’ deputy leader.