In a video posted on Julie Bishop’s public Facebook account on Sunday, Ms Bishop is seen standing on a lawn, dressed casually, with a glass of champagne.
“It’s on, Sir Tony,” she says to camera. “Don’t get too fond of that throne because it’s going to have my name on it soon.”
An unseen person then dumps a bucket of icy water over Ms Bishop, who screams and yells several words that are bleeped out.
The video concludes with Ms Bishop passing the challenge on.
“I call on Malcolm Turnbull, Mal Brough and Tony Abbott for an Ice Bucket Leadership Challenge!”
Speculation immediately exploded on social media networks as to whether the video was genuine or whether Ms Bishop’s account had been hacked, and many of the questions put to Mr Abbott during his appearance at the National Press Club on Monday centred on the video and the question of a leadership challenge.
“I had a meeting with Julie this morning during which we covered the issue of whether the video was genuine,” Mr Abbott stated in response to one question.
“I have full confidence that it was not and that there will be no ongoing question over the party’s leadership.”
When asked whether Ms Bishop had confirmed that the video was not genuine, Mr Abbott merely reiterated that he had no concerns regarding the matter.
During an interview on radio station 2GB this morning, Treasurer Joe Hockey attempted to quell speculation by stating that politics was boring and that the question of leadership was not something that people should be interested in.
“I don’t think people want to waste their time on something as dull as party leadership,” he stated.
“Have you tried going to YouTube and searching for “cat falling off”? There’s so much hilarious stuff on there, you could spend all day laughing your socks off. No-one cares about any of this ice bucket challenge stuff. Yawn factor ten, Mr Sulu!”
His response was in line with the general lack of interest displayed by the Liberals during the Gillard/Rudd leadership spill in June 2013, which many top Liberals at the time referred to as “a minor event unworthy of attention”.
Mr Abbott made it clear at his Press Club appearance that he did not take the video seriously and would not be following up with his own leadership challenge video.
“I know there’s probably quite a few people out there who would be keen to see me dust off the budgie smugglers and wade into the sordid pool of idiocy that is social media, but I’m not going to lower myself to that level.”
“Julie has assured me that I have her full support and I’m happy with that.”
While it’s certainly caused a stir, the video is still not as popular as George Brandis’s eight million view YouTube video, “Nyan Cat (Metadata Enquiry Remix)”, which features a cartoon Mr Brandis flying through the sky above Parliament House singing the same unintelligible song for ten hours.