Julie Bishop's Chief Of Staff Attended Secret Abbott-Coup Meeting

12/11/2015 5:25 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 11: Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop speaks about the Governments 26-28% carbon emissions target by 2020 during a joint press conference with Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt at Parliament House on August 11, 2015 in Canberra, Australia. Tony Smith was elected Speaker on 10, August following the resignation of Bronwyn Bishop. (Photo by Stefan Postles/Getty Images)

A new book places Julie Bishop's chief of staff, Murray Hansen, at the September 13 meeting of Liberal MPs and Malcolm Turnbull supporters where it was ultimately decided the group would challenge the leadership of Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

It's the first time anyone from the deputy Liberal leaders' inner-sanctum has been connected with the secret meeting on the eve of the challenge at the home of Eden-Monaro MP Peter Hendy, and contradicts Bishop's version of events, The Australian has reported.

The claims have been made in a new book, Battleground, written by Wayne Errington and Peter van Onselen.

The Australian reports Bishop and Hansen would not comment on the allegations.

Abbott supporters claim the new information suggest Ms Bishop was more heavily involved in the leadership spill than previously thought, and held off on informing Abbott about the looming challenge for longer than she has disclosed.

“Hendy had worked alongside Hansen for Bishop while trying to win the seat of Eden-Monaro,’’ Errington and van Onselen wrote.

“Hansen said little­ at the meeting but his presence spoke volumes.’’

Ms Bishop has stated she knew nothing of a challenge up until the night before the ballet was held.

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