Julie Bishop should feel robbed
JULIE Bishop should feel robbed today.
The Foreign Minister was the most qualified candidate of the three vying to be our next prime minister and cast a long and enviable shadow over Peter Dutton and Scott Morrison.
Polls and research also showed the voting public overwhelmingly preferred her, and that Ms Bishop could've led the government to a decisive victory over Labor.
But no, the party room voted more of the same.
It's not the first time this week the government has shown it doesn't care what Australia wants or deserves.
Instead of making the right choice - and the smart choice - Ms Bishop was thoroughly let down by her visionless and cowardly colleagues, who waged an internal war and tore apart the government this week for nothing.
Why? Simply put, because she's a woman.
The Liberal Party has long had a problem with women and the glass ceiling in Canberra might as well have their logo painted on it.
Women battle to get their foot in the door in the first place, with preselectors signing up male candidates at an offensively high rate.
A bloke with a sex scandal in his past has a better chance of being tapped to run than a woman.
If they're lucky enough to slip through, women are overlooked for leadership positions, usually in favour of bloated and underwhelming men.
What's a woman got to do to make it in politics? Not join the Liberal Party, for a start.
Like so many before her, Ms Bishop has had to cop more intense scrutiny than her male colleagues.
When Ms Bishop is firm and formidable, she's described as cold. When she shows her human side, she's labelled silly or soft.
You need only have listened to talkback radio in the past 24 hours to see what members of her own party think of her.
There's a distinctly stomach-churning tone to it all.
Ms Bishop had the skill set, global presence and pragmatic approach to policy to lead the Coalition out of this mess of its own making.
But she was overlooked. And now the Liberals will suffer for it.
Had today's leadership spill been about the Labor Party, and three candidates with similar backgrounds, pitches for the job and public support been presented, the woman would've won.
Not because the ALP is better at giving women a go, and they are. Not because the playing is much more even on that side, and it is.
But because the Labor Party wants to win, and would've picked someone based on a mix of merit and their electability.
The Liberal Party is more interested in self-interest, revenge, bitter rivalries and a 'rather lose than compromise' approach to ruling.
How sad for Australia that we're stuck with them until the next election.
And how sad for Ms Bishop that after years of loyalty, her own side has once again let her down.