Julie Isabel Bishop, Loyal Deputy and Foreign Minister


Peter Costello said at Julie Bishop’s campaign launch for the seat of Curtin in 1998. “Not just a bishop – certainly a cardinal. Perhaps even a pope.’ [5]

So who is Julie Bishop?

DA Bishop receiving a haircut (Julie Bishop's Father and Grandfather) Circa 1920

DA Bishop receiving a haircut (Julie Bishop’s Father and Grandfather) Circa 1920

She was born 17th July, 1956 to cherry orchardists Douglas Alan Bishop and Isabel Mary (nee Wilson) in Lobethal, South Australia. Douglas was a fourth generation orchardist in the Adelaide Hills while Isabel was the fourth generation in a family of pastoralists. Later, Isabel was to become Mayor of East Torrens and died in 2008.

Politics were never far away from the family dinner-table conversation. Her grandfather was long-time local mayor and well connected with Thomas Playford, then premier of South Australia, and with Sir Alexander Downer, father of the Foreign Affairs Minister. [1] 

In September 2013 Rowan Callick of the Australian wrote, “Classic Menzies Liberals,” Bishop says of her family history. Doug served in the war and returned to the family orchards. Her mother’s side were sheep and wheat farmers. “They wanted to live in a country that provided the greatest opportunity for themselves and children,” she says. “They were hard-working people who asked for no handouts and believed in work as an ethic and were always promoting ideas of self-reliance, enterprise and freedom, urging us to do and be whatever we wanted to be. “We were steeped in small government, in lower taxes. I don’t believe government should be at the heart of the economy, as Rudd said – or at the heart of society. I think it’s a facilitator, and of course a safety net. That’s where we differ so strongly with our Labor counterparts who see it as an answer to all ills. [2]

Julie has two older sisters Patricia and Mary Lou, respectively a doctor and a businesswoman, and a younger brother Douglas, now a partner in Clayton Utz in Sydney. Both elder Bishops were Liberal Party stalwarts. Their social circle included their neighbours, the multi-generational political Downer family, an august political clan then busily grooming its next generation of cabinet ministers. [3]

Rowan Callick, in his article in 2013 said that Bishop said, “Someone wrote that I came from a privileged background. But I know about adversity because I have seen it within my own family. The property was wiped out by bushfires on Black Sunday the year before I was born. My childhood in the Adelaide Hills was lived with that in the background, as the family tried to rebuild literally from the ashes. It took 25 years to turn a profit. ”  [2]

If  I, as amateur biographer may butt in here; I would be hardpressed to find many other families able to live on their losses for 25 years. Perhaps they were not cash rich but there must have been a major source of family capital to draw upon. If that is not the very definition of ‘privilege’ I don’t know what is.

Please disregard. I am just one of the 99% who could not even dream of managing the feat of living on no income for one year, let alone 25 years!


She went to a private primary school that her great-grandfather founded in the 1890s. Her mother was a Methodist, her father an Anglican, who both had strong Christian values. Jordan Baker wrote in the Sunday Telegraph in February, 2013, “When she was 10 years old, her scripture teacher quit midway through the term. She had enjoyed the class, so decided to teach it herself. “And so I became the religious instructor,” she says.” [3]

Bishop recalls high school, Saint Peter’s Collegiate Girls’ School, Adelaide’s most prestigious girls’ academy also attended by Amanda Vanstone, Kevin Rudd’s wife Therese Rein and Kylie Minogue,- as “a wonderful time in my life”. Bishop obviously thrived in that environment becoming a champion debater, class captain and head prefect. [2]

Michael Gordon of the Sydney Morning Herald wrote an article entitled “Good Morning Ms Bishop”. I found a reprint in the WA Solicitor’s online portal. In part it read,



“Recruited to the school debating team by her prefect sister, Patricia, the pigtailed Julie once anchored a team arguing the unpopular proposition that demonstrations were a waste of time. The year was 1970, when public opposition to the Vietnam War was beginning to be expressed in mass protest marches on the streets. After summing up her team’s arguments, and rebutting those of her opponents, the 14-year-old student delivered her coup de grace: “If I have something to say, I won’t be wasting my time demonstrating on the steps of Parliament. I’ll make sure my voice is heard inside the Parliament.” Her team won. [4]

Even then, Bishop was destined to be an impact player, driven by the sense of noblesse oblige that had been honed over four generations of Bishops in the Adelaide Hills; men and women who had been prominent in local government and agricultural politics, and regularly played host to premiers, like Sir Thomas Playford, and governors, like Sir Edric Bastyan. “Our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents all had this great sense of duty to the community that we all thought was perfectly normal,” says Patricia, a GP who still practises in Adelaide. “There was just this sense that we had a responsibility to make the world a better place.” [4]

Moving to the University of Adelaide, under the new Whitlam “No University Fees” regime, she studied law, graduating in 1978.

The Sydney Morning Herald in an article by Deborah Snow on 23rd Sept, 2013 that older sister Patricia says that she takes ”some credit” for getting Julie interested in foreign affairs by encouraging her to come along on early Uni trips through south-east Asia. The girls worked as barmaids at Football Park to earn money for those trips.[5]

Bishop may have been born to be head girl, but she wasn’t priggish.” reports Jordan Baker in his February 10, 2013 article “Even as a teenager and university student, she was famous for her parties. (Younger brother) Doug remembers a raucous event in which bearded students descended on the farmhouse, and at least one skinny-dipped. [3]


Julie Bishop was the first female articled clerk employed by Wallmans in Adelaide. It seems they had difficulties determining how to treat a woman as an equal in a business situation. At a function during the first week of her first job as a lawyer, Bishop was told to carry the drinks tray. “I knew I couldn’t stay at that firm if that’s the way they treated me.” She left for a fledging company and, at age 26, became the city’s youngest female partner, [3]

Julie Bishop in 1982, partner at Adelaide law firm Mangan, Ey & Bishop

Julie Bishop in 1982, partner at Adelaide law firm Mangan, Ey & Bishop

And so she practised as a barrister and solicitor at the Adelaide law firm Mangan, Ey & Bishop, where she became a partner before she was 30.

Deborah Snow of the SMH wrote in September 2013 that in 1981 Bishop “took a tip from her mother and dropped in on a family friend for advice. The friend was Alexander Downer, then a junior officer in the Department of Foreign Affairs. The student was Julie Bishop and she wanted to know about a career in diplomacy. ”She was very charming,” recalls Downer. ”All the [three] Bishop girls were very charming”. Downer, who’d already enjoyed his first posting overseas, did not try to put her off, but his ”sales job”, he jokes now, was ‘obviously inadequate’ [5]

In 1983, Bishop married property developer Neil Gillon, and relocated with him to Perth, Western Australia, where she practised as a commercial litigation solicitor at Clayton Utz (then known as Robinson Cox). While working at Clayton Utz Bishop was part of the legal team which defended compensation claims against CSR by asbestos mining workers who had contracted mesothelioma as a result of their work for the company. [6]

My reading of the events of that time seem to indicate that Bishop’s main strategy in the CSR/James Hardie case was to delay judicial decisions for as long as possible in a situation where the litigants had severely limited life expectancies.

Journalist Peter van Onselen worked part-time for Bishop when she was a backbencher, writing speeches for her. He describes his former boss as a demanding perfectionist who wanted staff to work as hard as she did. Van Onselen remembers once when Bishop rushed over in a hurry to send a fax but he was unable to help her with the machine. “She said ‘You’ve been here two months and you don’t know?’,” he says. “I fired back ‘You’ve been a member for two years and you don’t know?’. “She said ‘Fair comment’. So she might have been quick to snap at people but she was also quick to realise when she was in the wrong.”  [1] 

Another former staffer, who did not want to be identified, is less complimentary. “As a boss she was unrelenting. She was incredibly tough,” he says. “It was absolutely exhausting working for her. Not a fun place.” He said Bishop “never, ever let her guard down”. It’s a view shared by van Onselen: “But she’s actually very personable and easy to chat to when the veneer’s not up.” [1] 


Her five year marriage to “the dashing Neil Gillon” ended in 1988.  “Our careers took us in different directions,’’ Bishop explains. “He got a job overseas and it came down to whether I wanted to join him or stay in Perth – and I stayed. You haven’t got time in life to go over what could have been. I don’t do regrets.’  Gillon moved to Britain where he married fashion designer to the rich and famous, Amanda Wakeley, in 1988. That marriage lasted ten years.  [7]

After the marriage break-up came a relationship with the controversial (and twenty years older,) Ross Lightfoot, admittedly well before he attracted national notoriety as a Liberal senator – who asserted that Aboriginal people “in their native state were the lowest colour on the civilisation spectrum”.  [4]

Despite the relationship bringing her closer to the political circle of the Liberal Party, it appears to have ended acrimoniously.

In 2010 Steven Mayne delved into the relationships within Australian power. He published some intriguing information about Ross Lightfoot: “the WA Senator’s third wife, Anne Ferguson-Stewart used to work for fellow senator Winston Crane. And Ross’s daughter Jo worked in his office, but because she had a different surname it largely went unnoticed. Additionally, Michaelia Cash, the daughter of the former WA Speaker and Liberal Minister used to work for Senator Ross Lightfoot at the same time as dating him. Yes, there was a huge age difference and this was after Lightfoot’s marriage to Julie Bishop but before he married his current wife who also used to work for him. [8] (Note; The relationship between Lightfoot and Bishop was defacto)

Deborah Snow of The SMH reported, in 2013; Her most recent, public relationship julie bishop5has been with former Perth lord mayor and prominent obstetrician Dr Peter Nattrass, her senior by some 15 years. They never lived together, and they are said to be no longer romantically linked, though they remain close. Bishop will not discuss this area of her life. [5]

Perth Now reported in 2007, “Julie is a very private person,” says Bishop’s long-time partner, Peter Nattrass. “She’ll probably get very cross with me for talking to you. It’s just the way she’s been brought up – it’s part of her make-up.” “Our PAs spend a lot of time synchronising diaries,” she says. “But fortunately our constituencies overlap and we’re often invited to the same functions so we get to see each other.” So are there nights when the pair flop down on the couch together in front of the telly? “I would say exceedingly rarely because she’s away so much,” Nattrass says. “And when she’s back she’s got something on, or I’ve got something on.” Asked what attracted him to Bishop in the first place, Nattrass says: “Heaven only knows.” They were introduced by mutual friend and former Court government minister Richard Lewis at a theatre function. Nattrass clearly remains entranced by his partner. “Julie is the most energetic and intelligent woman I’ve ever met,” he says. “It’s a very tiring and difficult job. But the thing is she’s very talented, and I hate to admit anyone could be more intelligent than me, but sadly she is.” [1] 

But it is her relationship with Nattrass that seems to be the thread connecting her frenetic working life with a stable private one. Bishop and Nattrass live in separate apartments in the same luxury block of units overlooking the Swan River in Crawley. It suits them both, she says. “I can recommend it,” Bishop says with a laugh. Marriage, however, is not on the cards. She says she simply does not have time for that sort of commitment. “I took marriage very seriously. I was obviously very sad when it didn’t work out, but I then pretty much threw myself into my career, and it’s always been a question of timing,” she says. [1] julie bishop1

Amateur psychologists will have already noted with interest that Lightfoot was 20 years her senior while Nattrass is 15 years older.

A compulsive runner she does her ten kilometres each day which, in her current portfolio, means that some poor civilian has to make themselves available as a running partner each day when she is overseas.

Bishop also appears to be a bit of a “Gym Junkie.”

Bishop is an unashamed lover of fashion and the finer things in life, telling one recent interviewer that ”clothes are a part of who I am”. Baird says ”I think she likes five-star living, she has got a lot of rich and powerful friends. She is often out on [media mogul] Kerry Stokes’ yacht and she loves all that. She is part of the WA establishment, and to a certain extent it’s where she belongs, in that milieu – successful high achievers, good connections, motivated, professional. But I have never found her to be a snob” Perth friend John Poynton says: ”She has been an awesome networker, she pretty much knows everybody.”[5]
“She wears Giorgio Armani suits, Kailis pearls and her hair looks that immaculate – all the time. When we meet in her trendy Subiaco office she looks dazzling. She is wearing a blue Armani sweater, blue dress and shoes that elevate her beyond her 162cm (5ft 4in) frame. She’s giving off a bit of a Carrie Bradshaw (Sex and the City) aura – she’s fit (she runs 10km a day), petite, incredibly confident, a bit posh and even a bit flirty. “I don’t think I am posh,’’ Bishop says. “(But) I have always been interested in fashion. Clothes are a part of who I am. Having two older sisters probably has a lot to do with it. “I started wearing Armani suits when I was in law. Doing what I do, you have to have clothes that you can wear at meetings and sometimes take you into functions at night. I don’t like clothes that are too trendy, or over the top.’’ [7]

“This is the Julie Bishop we don’t see on television. The girly girl who drinks pink champagne, throws lavish parties and loves a chat. The fashionista born in stilettos, who fancies Escada clothes and Kailis pearls, and counts being serenaded by Bono as her career highlight. The charming flirt who has been known to leave stuffy male diplomats slack-jawed. [3]



At the Melbourne Cup Bishop was partnered by Melbourne businessman David Panton. “It took some probing, but eventually the coy Ms Bishop confirmed she and Mr Panton have been in a relationship for six months.

A property investor, Mr Panton recently relocated to Melbourne from Manly.Among other things, Mr Panton and Ms Bishop share a love for sports and fitness.

Iboobsn a Flemington marquee stuffed to overflowing on Cup Day with the affluent, the corpulent and ebullient, Ms Bishop and her new love – toned and tanned and dignified – rather stood out. Mr Panton had paired his dark suit with a vivid violet tie complementing Ms Bishop’s race day outfit.” [9]

It seems Bishop has a hankering for great big property developers.

This coincided with a sudden shower of puff pieces on the Foreign Minister who is being promoted as the next Liberal (hence PM) leader.

Political involvements mean that there is no such thing as a truly private life. Everything is done and reported with the main game in mind.

Makes it difficult to decide whether this should appear under the heading “Social Life”.


Ms Bishop’s road to Canberra was a bit different. It was helped by her association with the WA Liberal Party’s now-defunct Crichton-Browne faction, which in turn owed something to her long de facto relationship with former Senator Ross Lightfoot, a key factional member.

Julie Bishop in December 1996, at Martha's Vineyard, telling her mother Isabel (who died in 2005) that she wanted to become a politician.

Julie Bishop in December 1996, at Martha’s Vineyard, telling her mother Isabel (who died in 2005) that she wanted to become a politician.

The decision to follow her mother into politics, albeit at a much higher level, came from a visit to Harvard. Her mother was very supportive of this decision while her father seems to have been quite lukewarm.

Bishop says she was “very restless” in her final years at Clayton Utz so she went to see business leader Michael Chaney for career advice. She was impressed when he told her that he had taken an advanced management course at Harvard Business School, so she enrolled in the course too. A friend from those days, John Poynton, chairman of Azure Capital, recalls: “I remember when she returned from Harvard, she described being struck by a question from a lecturer – ‘How many of you have planned to do public service of some sort?’ She noticed that all the Americans and none of the Australians in the group put their hands up. She came back fired up.” [3]

Bishop says: “Harvard awakened in me a desire to serve my own country. It was life-changing because of the people I met there, and because of my decision to go into federal politics.” She was appointed as a delegate to the 1998 constitutional convention on the republic and met Abbott, Peter Costello and other leading Liberals there. “I had an incredibly interesting time. David Johnston, who was then president of the WA Libs, asked if I would be interested in standing for politics. Once I made up my mind to do so, opportunities arose.” [3]

1998 Into Parliament

Wikipedia hints at the machinations and backroom deals which accompanied Ms Bishop’s pre-selection. One key factor was that Alan Rocher, the incumbent Independent was a favourite of John Howard. Bishop languished on the outer for five years.

Ms Bishop won pre-selection for the Liberal Party for the seat of Curtin, Western Australia, in 1998, and went on to win the seat at the federal election later that year, defeating the sitting member and Liberal turned independent Allan Rocher, who had held the seat since 1981. Following the Liberals’ February 2001 state election loss by Richard Court to Geoff Gallop, Bishop was mooted as a possible contender for the leader of the state opposition. Initially Court had announced that he would lead the Liberals into opposition. However, behind the scenes he was engineering a deal under which both he his deputy leader and factional opponent, Colin Barnett, would have resigned from the state legislature. Bishop would have handed her comfortably safe federal seat to Barnett, enter the state parliament via a by-election in either Barnett or Court’s comfortably safe state seats and succeed Court as state Liberal leader. The deal soon collapsed, however, when Bishop turned it down, declaring that the arrangement wasn’t bizarre, but “innovative, different”. Court was forced to leave politics altogether, and Barnett took over as state opposition leader. [6]

Eventually her talent forced Howard to give her a place on the Front Bench.

2005 Into the Ministry

Wikipedia records her progress: Bishop was appointed Minister for Ageing in 2003. She was later promoted to Minister for Education, Science and Training and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women’s Issues in the cabinet reshuffle on 24 January 2006 and served in those positions until the defeat of the Coalition government at the federal election held on 24 November 2007. Bishop’s education policies centred on the development of national education standards as well as performance-based pay for teachers. On 13 April 2007, the Australian State Governments expressed opposition to Bishop’s policies, notably those relating to performance pay. In the 2007 budget, the Federal Government announced a $5b “endowment fund” for higher education, with an express goal of providing world-class tertiary institutions in Australia. . [6]

Some of Bishop’s comments, such as “the states have ideologically hijacked school syllabi and are wasting $180 million in unnecessary duplication”, have been criticised by teachers. An advance media kit for a 2006 speech claimed parts of the contemporary curriculum came “straight from Chairman Mao”; however, the reference was dropped from her speech. . [6]

2007 Into Opposition

Following the Coalition’s loss at the 2007 election, Bishop was elected Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party under Brendan Nelson on 29 November 2007. In a ballot of Liberal party room members, Bishop prevailed with 44 votes, one more than the combined total of her two competitors: Andrew Robb (25 votes) and Christopher Pyne (18 votes). Nelson also opted not to give National Party leader Warren Truss the post of Deputy Leader of the Opposition, instead giving it to Bishop. Bishop was also given the shadow portfolio of employment, business and workplace relations in the Nelson shadow cabinet. . [6]

On 22 September 2008, Bishop was offered the role of Shadow Treasurer by Nelson’s successor as Opposition Leader, Malcolm Turnbull, in his shadow cabinet making her the first woman to hold the portfolio of any major party at the federal level. On 16 February 2009, she resigned from the position of Shadow Treasurer, due to dissatisfaction within Liberal ranks over her performance. Bishop moved to foreign affairs while maintaining her position of Deputy Leader whilst the shadow treasury portfolio was taken over by Joe Hockey. [6]


Twice in 2008 Bishop was accused of plaigarism.

The first on September 28, when she used two sentences from the Wall St Journal. “The speech, delivered in Parliament Monday just moments before a radio interview in which she stumbled when asked to identify Australia’s official interest rate, included two sentences found in their entirety in a Journal article about the US financial crisis dated 20 October.” [12]

More worryingly, Martin added to his post that “JULIE Bishop has now been accused of altering the parliamentary record over her defence against allegations she gave a speech that plagiarised the Wall Street Journal. MPs and senators are sent the parliamentary record – known as Hansard – each evening before it is printed, allowing MPs to change their words if they don’t like it. Labor’s leader of the house, Anthony Albanese, said today the Hansard did not record her actual words on the plagiarism gaffe. [12]

Bernard Keane wrote in “Crikey”,  The interest rate gaffe one could dismiss. It was embarrassing for Julie Bishop, having only been in the job eight hours, and anyway it won’t be too long before Kevin Rudd or Wayne Swan are caught out on some economic factoid. These things invariably come round to bite people on the backside when they get too cute about it.
But then there was the Wall St Journal plagiarism, which again looked a tad embarrassing, but really, who cares, and doesn’t the Treasurer’s office have anything better to do than google opposition speeches? There’s only a global financial meltdown  — so we’re told  — happening.
Anthony Albanese, however, is not one to let the trivia of the issues get in the way of a hot-blooded pursuit. What looked merely embarrassing for Bishop took a more nasty turn when Albanese  — who likes to circulate Hansard of his finer Parliamentary moments to a grateful Press Gallery  — rose in Parliament first thing this morning. He asked the Speaker to look into the suggestion that Bishop had misled the House in her explanation of how she ended up using material from the WSJ and then got Hansard to change her explanation so that it read differently. Albanese reckons Bishop said:
In my speech I was referring to the United States’ plans. In fact, the words I used were the technical explanation from the US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, which have been published widely.
But then changed it to:
In my speech I was referring to the United States’ plans, and, in fact, the words I used were a technical explanation of US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s plan, which have been published widely.
Yes it took me a couple of reads to see the crucial preposition but Albanese’s sort of got a point. [13]

Secondly, a month later on 27th Oct 2008, John Lyons of the Australian reported that, “DEPUTY Liberal leader Julie Bishop is embroiled in her second plagiarism controversy in a month, last night telephoning a New Zealand businessman to apologise that his words have appeared in a new book under her name without attribution. Some parts of Ms Bishop’s essay are lifted word-for-word from a speech the businessman made in 1999 and, in other parts, words have been substituted or changed slightly. It is an embarrassment for Ms Bishop and the publishers, Melbourne University Press, that one of the major essays in a book about the future of the Liberal Party was written in part nine years ago by New Zealand businessman Roger Kerr.” [14]

Once is happenstance, twice – – – . More worrying is the possible answer to the question, “If Bishop gains even higher office, whose words will we be hearing?”

On 1 December 2009, Tony Abbott was elected leader after a leadership spill. Bishop retained the deputy role without being challenged for the position and also retained her role as Shadow Treasurer in Abbott’s shadow cabinet. . [6] Editor’s note – I suspect Wikipedia means her position as shadow Foreign Minister

Forged Passports

In May of 2010, Stephen Smith, the then Foreign Minister, cancelled the passport of an Israeli diplomat in retaliation for the Israeli use of forged Australian passports in the murder of a Hamas leader. In keeping with protocol, Julie Bishop was given a confidential briefing on the matter. Bishop decided to break protocol and go public.
Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said he was shocked by her statements and that she was not fit to occupy a position of trust.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd launched a scathing rebuke of Ms Bishop, accusing her of acting against the interests of national security. He says there is a long-standing convention that neither side of politics comments on intelligence activities. “Today that convention has been breached,” he said. “This is fundamentally contrary to Australia’s national security interests.” [18]

Sabra Lane on PM (ABC Radio) – Tuesday, May 25, 2010
SABRA LANE: This afternoon Fairfax’s Tim Lester asked Ms Bishop to explain her view that she believes the Government’s decision to expel an Israeli diplomat is an overreaction.
JULIE BISHOP: It would be naive to think that Israel is the only country in the world that has used forged passports, including Australian passports, for security operations.
TIM LESTER: What, we do?
JULIE BISHOP: Yes.   [17]

ABC News Online updated its article on this matter at 5.38 am on 26th May.
Bishop backs down over fake passports Updated 26 May 2010, 3:38am”
Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop has been forced to back away from comments in which she suggested Australian intelligence authorities had used forged passports. Ms Bishop maintains the Government overreacted in deciding to expel an Israeli diplomat from Canberra over the use of forged Australian passports in the assassination of a Hamas leader. She says it is naive to think Israel is the only country using forged passports in intelligence operations. When she was asked if she believes Australia does, she replied yes.
“There is no actual proof that the Israeli government was involved,” Ms Bishop said on Monday.  [18]

The Cockroach

Samantha Maiden reported in the Herald Sun, Feb,2011, “She is not called The Cockroach by some Liberals for nothing. Bishop has survived three Liberal leaders since 2007 and kept her post as deputy with her Krystle Carrington smile fixed in place. But she was forced to relinquish her Treasury post to Joe Hockey after his supporters undermined her for months. Insiders still aren’t sure she’s the perfect fit for Foreign Affairs either, suggesting she is too beholden to lobby groups. A bitter stoush over slashing foreign aid to Indonesian schools saw her confront Tony Abbott in his office. She’s already survived a micro-challenge from Robb, who declared he wanted her job as deputy before abandoning the putsch only hours later. [10]

Deborah Snow wrote, “Costello prefers to describe her as a Liberal ”modern” , who is ”pro- free market, pro responsible economics, but willing to embrace change … in foreign affairs she will be firmly focused on Asia and the region.” Bishop says if she had to pin a label on herself it would be ”Menzian Liberal”, after party hero Robert Menzies. She defines that as being ”an economic dry and a social wet. In our party, if you say you are a Menzian Liberal it does send a message that perhaps you are more moderate on social issues”. [5]

Much of her fame in Opposition came from her famous “Death Stare”.julie bishop4

Her loyalty to her colleagues is notable. When fellow West Aussie Liberal, Don Randall said, “The problem is that the mining industry is being pussy-whipped by Julia Gillard,” during a Friends of Mining lunch at Parliament House, she said she was not offended and that “I took it that he was talking about males who cower in the face of dominant women.”  [11]

2013, Into Government

After winning the 2013 election, Abbott formed government and Bishop was subsequently sworn in as Minister for Foreign Affairs and retained her position as deputy Liberal leader. She was the only female member of the original Abbott Cabinet and the third most senior government minister after the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister respectively. [16]

Months after the government was sworn in, it announced the implementation of a New Colombo Plan which would provide undergraduate students with funding to study in several different locations within the Indo-Pacific. The plan started off in pilot form and after initial success the full program was rolled out in 2015. [16]

MH17 and the UN Security Council Seat

Although Bishop fought against the previous government’s campaign to gain Australia a temporary two year seat on the United Nations Security Council, she has been widely lauded for her commanding performance when representing Australia on the Council. In particular, the Foreign Minister managed to negotiate a successful resolution that was adopted by the Council in regards to gaining full access to the crash site of MH17.  [16]

During the month of November 2014, Bishop chaired the Security Council and led meeting to discuss the threat of foreign fights, UN peacekeeping and the Ebola epidemic.  [16]

Later, Bishop led negotiations to pass a resolution to set up an independent criminal tribunal into the downing of MH17. Although Russia vetoed the resolution, Bishop was widely praised for her work and for her strong statement following the veto that ‘the anticipated excuses and obfuscation by the Russian Federation should be treated with the utmost disdain’.  [16]

Feb 2015 Leadership spill

In February 2015, Abbott faced a backbench uprising over several badly judged “captain’s calls”. Both Julie Bishop and Malcolm Turnbull were reported by the media as considering challenging for the leadership. Opinion poll results consistently showed that both Bishop and Turnbull were preferred Liberal leader over Abbott. The leadership motion failed 61 to 39 and Abbott was re-elected unopposed as leader of the Liberal Party and retained the Prime Ministership.  [16]

Bishop was involved at the highest level of negotiations with the Indonesian Government in attempts to save the lives of convicted drug smugglers Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan. [16]

During the same-sex marriage debate that divided the Liberal party in August 2015, Bishop refused to publicly declare what her personal views on the issue were. However, the Foreign Minister did hint that she was in favour of reform due to being “very liberally minded ” On August 11 2015, Bishop is said to have spoken very powerfully in favour of a plebiscite in the Coalition party room. [16]

September 2015 leadership spill

During the September 2015 spill that saw Abbott replaced by Turnbull as party leader and prime minister, Bishop retained her now traditional role as Deputy Leader of the party, defeating a challenge from Kevin Andrews in a 70-30 vote.    She  retained the Foreign Affairs portfolio following the formation of the Turnbull Government. [16]


On a much more sexist note, I came across vehicle damage reports from 2005 till 2010 published by Independent Australia. [15]

Two major points come out of a cursory look at this document. Our elected representatives are VERY poor drivers. And Bronwyn Bishop never had a helicopter accident!

Date of Damage Vehicle Custodian DamageAmount Cost to the Commonwealth

24-Apr-06 The Hon Julie BISHOP MP $2,662.42 $500.00
11-Nov-07 The Hon Julie BISHOP MP $1,699.07 $500.00
13-Nov-07 The Hon Julie BISHOP MP $2,135.92 $500.00
02-Mar-09 The Hon Julie BISHOP MP $2,823.93 $500.00
22-Mar-10 The Hon Julie BISHOP MP $21,588.06 $500.00
As a male who once reversed directly, and at speed, into a fully visible power pole, I dare make no further comment on this subject!



[1]    PerthNow 2007 – Rise and rise of Julie Bishop

[2] The Australian September 28, 2013; Julie Bishop: All the right moves

[3] The Australian Feb 10, 2013, Julie Bishop, The Interview

[4] Perth Solicitors – Good Morning Ms Bishop

[5] SMH Sept 23, 2013; The talented Miss Julie

[6] Wikipedia

[7] Perth Now, Sept 15, 2013  New Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop

[8] The Mayne Report; Relationships.

[9] The Australian Nov 5, 2014; Private foreign minister Julie Bishop reveals

[10] Herald Sun February 20, 2011, Power plays hit Abbott’s authority

[11]  The West Australian June 17th 2011 Storm over MP’s ‘pussy-whipped’ remark

[12]   Peter Martin Economics Editor, The Age September 24, 2008 The Shadow Treasurer’s bumpy debut.

[13] Bernard Keane, Crikey 2008/09/24.  Julie Bishop’s gaffes taken to a new level,

[14]  John Lyons, The Australian, Oct 27, 2008, Bishop in new plagiarism episode

[15] Independent Australia, Mar, 2013

[16] Wikipedia 27, Sept, 2015

[17] Sabra Lane on PM (ABC Radio) – Tuesday, May 25, 2010 (Transcript)

[18] ABC NewsOnline Wednesday May 25, 2010

It is necessary, as a researcher or as a casual reader, to remember that Wikipedia pages are subject to change.  The changes are visible if you teach yourself to use the “edit” and “view history” Buttons at the top of each Wikipedia page. Right next to the “Search Box”

3 responses to “Julie Isabel Bishop, Loyal Deputy and Foreign Minister

  1. Thanks Archie. That was very interesting

    Liked by 1 person

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