Julie Bishop, former foreign minister, announces resignation from Parliament
February 21, 2019 17:39:57
Former foreign minister Julie Bishop has announced she will retire from federal politics, in a surprise statement after Question Time.
- Julie Bishop’s decision brings an end to her two-decade career in politics
- Ms Bishop was Australia’s first female foreign minister
- She served as the party’s deputy leader from 2007 to 2018
Ms Bishop has been on the backbench since the leadership spill last year.
She has held the Perth electorate of Curtin since 1998 and was Australia’s first female foreign minister.
The Liberal luminary had said she would contest the 2019 election, but told the House of Representatives she had recently reconsidered her future in the Parliament and wanted to pursue a life outside of politics.
“It has been an immense honour to be the longest serving Member for Curtin and also to be the deputy leader of the Liberal Party, the first female to hold the role, [and] for 11 years, over half my entire political career,” she told the Parliament.
“I am also proud of the fact that I am the first woman to contest a leadership ballot of the Liberal Party in its 75-year history.”
Ms Bishop’s departure is a significant loss for the Coalition as it heads towards an election this year, considering her popularity with the public and her strong fundraising skills for the party.
Ms Bishop served as a minister in John Howard’s government before becoming deputy leader following the 2007 election.
She served in that role in Opposition under Brendan Nelson, Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott.
After the party won the 2013 election, she became foreign minister and remained in the job until Mr Turnbull lost the Liberal leadership last year.
Ms Bishop ran in the ballot to replace Mr Turnbull against Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton but was eliminated in the first round of voting.
Mr Morrison, who won the leadership ballot and became the Prime Minister, paid tribute to Ms Bishop and her “tremendous service to her country”.
“Her passion that she has always brought to her role, the dignity and grace that she has always demonstrated in every single role she has held,” he told Parliament.
“She is an incredibly classy individual.
“Her successor will have big shoes to fill, and we know that Julie has the best shoes in Parliament.”
Ms Bishop had already left the chamber by the time Mr Morrison responded to her sudden announcement.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten described her as a “trailblazer”, even if they had not shared much in common when it came to politics.
The Labor leader highlighted her work in the wake Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 being shot out of the skies over Ukraine, providing comfort to families left grieving.
“I also saw her steely determination in international forums to help pursue justice, and she was very strong,” Mr Shorten said.
“On that regard, if any of us were ever to be privileged to be in the position that she was in, dealing with the Russians and other people, I hope that any of us would show the same strength that she showed.
“She did and that is to her everlasting credit. She did Australia proud that day and in those weeks.”
Ms Bishop had little to say as she left Parliament House for the week after making her announcement.
“You know, I think I’ll really miss this,” she said as she ran the gauntlet of cameras waiting for her to appear.
February 21, 2019 15:42:42