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BREAKING NEWS: Bishop Delivers Broadside to Mining Industry

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has described conditions in mining camps as being worse than those at the Nauru immigration detention centre.

Ms Bishop's comments follow a damning UNHCR report last month, which called on the Australian Government to stop sending asylum-seeker children to the detention centres, singling out the Nauru centre in particular, saying it is rat-infested, cramped and very hot.

This followed an Amnesty International report which described conditions in the detention centres as "cruel, inhuman, degrading and violating prohibitions against torture."

Ms Bishop visited the centre as part of a three-day bi-partisan tour of the Pacific, but did not actually see any minors, or miners.

She maintains that despite higher wages, more leave and the fact that they choose to be there, living standards for miners are even worse than for detainees.

"They were certainly better than mining camps in Australia," Ms Bishop said.

Ms Bishop's comments have not been well received by her cabinet colleagues. Government Ministers were in damage control last night after Ms Bishop's unprovoked attack on the Abbott Government's staunchest ally after News Limited.

Some senior figures are speculating that she could lose her position as the only woman in cabinet with Christopher Pyne tipped to don the apron and take over the tea trolly.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott would not be drawn on speculation about Ms Bishop's future but reiterated the Government's commitment to the mining industry.

"Last financial year the mining industry spent $22 million helping to get us elected, " Mr Abbott said. "You don't criticise people like that, you give them $3 billon dollars a year in tax breaks and subsidies and your unwavering support."

Mining industry figures are unavailable for comment over the festive season.

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