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Bishop: Keroserene But Not Hurt

Bronwyn Bishop, the woman who once had visions of being Australia's first female prime minister denied she was furious at being denied a place in John Howard's ministry.

Instead, her office released a brief statement saying she was leaving for America to advise the FBI on the recent anthrax attacks.

A spokesperson revealed The FBI is keen to hear from Mrs Bishop about her experiences with a suspected terrorist attack while she was Minister for Aged Care.

Reports at the time suggested this was to control a scabies outbreak, but evidence suggests the truth was more sinister.

Documents recently obtained under FOI reveal the truth about a scandal last year when residents of an Australian nursing home were given kerosene baths.

It was the first recorded anthrax scare in Australia and kerosene was used to kill the spores found in a number of old age homes in Australia.

Bronwyn Bishop's cool head and determination not to spread panic brought the situation under control.

She ordered the kerosene baths and then, when the matter became public insisted it was to prevent a scabies outbreak even though she knew she would be vilified by the press.

"This is going to be a huge challenge for me," said Mrs Bishop. "It may be difficult to add kerosene to American bath water, but I will certainly be insisting they wipe everything down with a damp cloth and a bit of kerosene.

"At the Riverside nursing home 57 cases were reported. They were all in the same place. If it were not for the unions and the nurses we would have managed to keep the whole thing secret. In the end I decided to blame it on a scabies scare. Fortunately the press bought it which gave us time to deal with what could have been a huge disaster for Australia."

Australian detectives have been working closely with the FBI to try and track the culprits. It is still not yet known how the anthrax ended up in an Australian nursing home, but detectives believe the postal system may have been used by terrorists assessing effectiveness prior to a US attack.

"We had no idea," said a resident at the Riverside Nursing Home. "We just thought Bronwyn didn't care. I think I will be adding a bit of kerosene to my bath water from now on. You just can't be too careful anymore, what with all these illegal boat people and all that coming into Australia now."

While Mrs Bishop's political fortunes have nose-dived it is uncertain she will ever be welcome back on the front bench.

Like American senators who ran screaming from the capitol while urging Americans not to panic, Mrs Bishop made sure she never went anywhere near the Riverside Nursing Home.

An Australian cleaning company, owned by Mr Ng, is trying to patent the cleaning formula used in the nursing home. Mr Ng admitted red tape and bureaucratic bungling were thwarting him

Meanwhile the Body Shop is launching a range of all-natural kerosene soaps and toiletries which will be in American stores in time for Christmas.