Sophie back at top table for a day

Sophie Mirabella
Sophie Mirabella

Sophie Mirabella’s political career sank at the September election, but the former member for Indi resurfaced in Canberra on Sunday night for an exclusive dinner with the Prime Minister Tony Abbott and former colleagues.

The knees-up was held in Mr Abbott’s Parliament House dining room.

They were joined by about 20 Coalition MPs for the dinner, including Treasurer Joe Hockey, Attorney-General George Brandis and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce.

A who’s who of up-and-coming Liberal economic dries also attended, including Jamie Briggs, Kelly O’Dwyer, Scott Ryan, Dan Tehan and Tony Smith.

Mrs Mirabella was appointed in December to the board of the government’s naval shipbuilding firm ASC Pty Ltd, formerly the Australian Submarine Corporation.

The dinner was seen as a chance for colleagues to catch up for the first time since the election, when Mrs Mirabella lost her seat to independent Cathy McGowan.

The former Coalition industry spokeswoman has also been mentioned in connection with a Productivity Commission inquiry into the Fair Work laws, but government sources have all-but ruled out her involvement.

A spokeswoman for Mr Abbott said he had always intended to “appropriately farewell Mrs Mirabella after more than decade of service to the Parliament and the Liberal Party”.

Mrs Mirabella declined to comment yesterday.