As Australia’s diplomats traipse back home this week for meetings with our Southeast Asian neighbours on business and counter-terrorism at the weekend's Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Sydney, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop must be wondering -- in what's meant to be a moment of some triumph -- how it has all gone so wrong for her.

It was less than a year ago that Bishop was widely seen as the only person in parliament capable of taking the reins from Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister amid open criticism of him from within the Liberal Party.