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Bishop vindicates Windsor's suspicions of Abbott: early election was always his focus

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Media Release 31st October 2012

Bishop vindicates Windsor’s suspicions of Abbott Early election was always his focus

The Liberal Member for Mackellar, the Hon Bronwyn Bishop has confirmed that Tony Abbott would have gone to an early election even if the Independent Member for New England, Tony Windsor and the Independent Member for Lyne, Rob Oakeshott had sided with him to form Government.

Mrs Bishop made the statement on Sky News’ “The Nation” last Thursday night and was picked up on by respected Sydney Morning Herald journalist Phil Coorey in Saturday’s paper.

According to Mr Coorey’s story, “Mrs Bishop had been claiming the Gillard government was illegitimate because it did not secure a majority in its own right.

Dr (Craig) Emerson (Minister for Trade and also on the Sky News Program) disputed this and challenged Mrs Bishop to say what Mr Abbott would have done had he been successful in negotiating a minority government after the August 2010 election. "We would have gone to another election," she said.

"Of course we would have gone to another election."

Mrs Bishop added that Mr Abbott would not have gone "straightaway".

Mr Windsor says that Mrs Bishop’s confirmation further vindicates his suspicions of the Opposition Leader.

“During the seventeen day period of negotiation with Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott, both were offered the chance to go back to the polls but both declined.

“I distinctly remember Joe Hockey in the company of Tony Abbott and Andrew Robb saying when the issue was raised, ‘For ….. sake, don’t do that to us. Pick one side but don’t go back to the polls.’

“Mr Abbott also said at the time that if the Independents sided with him that they could name the day of the election,” Mr Windsor said.

Mr Windsor believes that Mrs Bishop’s comments indicate Mr Abbott was not revealing his true intentions.

“During our negotiations, I became suspicious of Mr Abbott’s genuine desire to work within the constraints of minority government - the ‘Hung’ Parliament.

“In light of Mrs Bishop’s revelations any promises made by Mr Abbott would not have been worth the paper they were written on and the benefits of a ‘hung’ Parliament, particularly to country people, would have disappeared completely.

“The regional programs along with the Health and Hospital and Education Investment funds would have been trashed.

“The NBN rollout would have been stopped to the detriment of country people.

“The Clean Energy Programs would not have been achieved.

“The Murray Darling Basin Plan would be floundering - no closer to a solution and the other items in my agreement to form Government would not have been progressed past that point.

“As I recall, Mrs Bishop, the ‘political mother’ of Tony Abbott, was a senior member of the NSW Liberal Party when I supported Nick Greiner’s minority NSW Government back in 1991 and she didn’t object then nor did she call for an early election nor call them illegitimate,” Mr Windsor said.