Bishop v Hockey v Robb?

It would seem the commentariat have the knives out for Australian Shadow-Treasurer Julie Bishop:

JULIE BISHOP’S colleagues are about to pressure her to either step down voluntarily as shadow treasurer and take another senior role or face removal as the Liberal Party’s deputy leader.

Multiple Coalition sources have told the Herald that there is a near-unanimous view within the Opposition that Ms Bishop must go before the budget on May 12, and preferably sooner.

The Australian had similar words yesterday – a co-ordinated campaign no doubt.

To be honest, such a view is somewhat unsurprising. The Liberals have failed to sell a compelling emotional narrative on opposing Rudd’s stimulus, despite rationality being on their side. With the possible exception of Senator Mitch Fifield, I have seen little attempt to frame the issue outside of the doomed-to-fail ‘it’s to expensive’ line. The emotional connection to the electorate – so desperately needed by the Libs at this time, has been sadly lacking. While I personally have a lot of respect for Julie Bishop, to some degree she must shoulder the blame.

What I can not – for the life of me – understand is the following:

The common view within is that Joe Hockey, the finance spokesman, would replace Ms Bishop

The media seem constantly to be bending over backwards to promote Joe Hockey, whether it be Federally or as leader of the NSW Opposition. And I honestly can’t see it. I really can’t. Can someone please explain to me what he has done to deserve such adulation? What am I missing?

I mean we’re talking about someone who was an utter laughing stock as Finance Minister – so much so he was demoted, failed miserably at tourism, and, while I hardly blame him for the Industrial Relations debacle (most of the fault for that lies at someone else’s door), his performance there was hardly steller. Other than appearing on Morning Television, what has he ever done successfully?

Joe Hockey is a nice enough fellow. He’s likable, he comes across as affable in the media, and, of course, he makes a lovable Shrek, but can someone please name me a single achievement of his? Anything he’s done that hasn’t ended in failure? Anything at all? I mean if I’m mistaken, please do tell me. I just really can’t see it.

Andrew Robb is also mentioned in the article as a contender. Whilst I don’t know that much about him, he was the successful mastermind of the 1996 Liberal Election campaign – one of the best campaigns in recent decades. I would have assumed this would have placed him in some higher standing at least.

The Parliamentary wing of the Liberal Party is brimming with talent. Surely we can do better than a man who brought failure to every portfolio he has touched.

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10 Responses to “Bishop v Hockey v Robb?”

  1. Pete Says:

    Hi Tim,

    I have mixed views on Joe. I think you are perhaps a fraction harsh on his ministerial skills as he was finance minister at a difficult time with the GST. Also he introduced the fairness test which was a good attempt at cleaning up the mess of workchoices – in that situation, what else could be done?

    I think Joe is an excellent parliamentry performer and that is why people see him as a future leader. But is this sensible? I think his role as leader of opposition business suits him well. Sort of like albanese, that role in the trenches, attacking the other side probably plays to his strengths more than an actual leadership role.

    I agree, Andrew Robb would be a fine choice for opposition treasury spokesman. Well written article!

  2. Tim Says:


    Thanks for your comments. Very fair points.

    In response, I certainly concede he was in a difficult time as Finance Minister with the GST, but the fact remains is that he wasn’t able to handle it. Similarly as IR Minister, he tried very hard to repair the damage, but again, didn’t really prove up to it. Could someone else have done better? Personally I think so, but obviously we can never know, hence why I choose to rely far more on his (dismal) track record in Finance and Tourism.

    You are right however in that he is a good performer in the House. But as you say, this isn’t the same skillset that would make an effective Shadow Treasurer.

  3. James Says:


    I totally agree with you. Hockey is a lightweight (not literally) and just isn’t up to the job. He hasn’t done anything successful in his career in politics. All he has to hang his hat on is a flimsy appearance on Sunrise.

    He is too busy cosying up to the Labor Party.

    The idea he thinks he needs to go and save the NSW Opposition which is 18 points up in the Newspoll is absurd.

    Robb is measured, you can’t dislike the bloke and is a hard worker.

    The job of Shadow Treasurer under Turnbull though is however a poisoned chalice because it’s going to be hard for anyone to make huge headlines given the fact Turnbull does all the portfolio work anyway.

    Cool blog.


  4. MDMConnell Says:

    Really, looking at some of the recent election results, it seems being a ‘good bloke’ and polished media performer is all that’s needed nowadays, isn’t it?

  5. Jake the Muss Says:

    My views of Joe Hockey have been somewhat tarnished recently by the fact that I am convinced that I could have done a better job than he did on Lateline against Lindsay Tanner.

    This isn’t my usual arrogant self either. I simply believe that I, non MP, without his ability to research, could have done a better job than he did on Lateline.

    Apart from that I think he does a good job in Parliament so maybe the above suggestion of ‘leader of opposition business’ would be a good role.

    Also, I’d just like to point out that 2 years ago when everyone was fawning over Julie Bishop, I was pointing out that she was an absolute dud. It gives me no end of pleasure to be proven correct every single day she is deputy leader and Shadow Treasurer.

  6. Eric Hood Says:

    I think the only choice is Costello. If he has some pride in the accomplishments of the coalition he would be the man to shine a light on the labour party and make them look like the lightweights they are.

    The only problem is his seeming disinterest.

  7. Jake the Muss Says:

    The only choice is late 1970’s Nick Minchin.

  8. Robert Candelori Says:

    Jake, you’re totally right about Hockey’s Lateline performance. I had reasonable faith in his ability but that was somewhat sullied when he could barely lay a punch on Tanner. He huffed, he puffed, he spluttered but said nothing. A real disappointment.

  9. Tim Says:

    Would I be correct in assuming the Treasurer can’t sit in the Senate by dint of the Senate not being allowed to introduce money bills etc?

  10. Tim Andrews questions the recent rash of left-wing activists calling for Tony Abbott’s resignation « We can not Risk a Conservative Government under Tony Abbott Says:

    […] illiterate Joe Hockey (who I personally really like, and who makes for great TV, but seriously, how many portfolios has he failed in now? The Tourism demotion, the Finance debacle, the Workplace Relations joke…) , if you were a member […]

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