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Julie Bishop

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The Honourable
Julie Bishop
Portrait of Julie Bishop.jpg
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Assumed office
18 September 2013
Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Malcolm Turnbull
Preceded by Bob Carr
Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party
Assumed office
29 November 2007
Leader Brendan Nelson
Tony Abbott
Malcolm Turnbull
Preceded by Peter Costello
Deputy Leader of the Opposition
In office
3 December 2007 – 18 September 2013
Leader Brendan Nelson
Malcolm Turnbull
Tony Abbott
Preceded by Julia Gillard
Succeeded by Anthony Albanese
Minister for Education and Science
In office
27 January 2006 – 3 December 2007
Prime Minister John Howard
Preceded by Brendan Nelson
Succeeded by Julia Gillard
Minister for Women
In office
27 January 2006 – 3 December 2007
Prime Minister John Howard
Preceded by Kay Patterson
Succeeded by Tanya Plibersek
Minister for Ageing
In office
7 October 2003 – 27 January 2006
Prime Minister John Howard
Preceded by Kevin Andrews
Succeeded by Santo Santoro
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Curtin
Assumed office
3 October 1998
Preceded by Allan Rocher
Majority 20.7%
Personal details
Born Julie Isabel Bishop
(1956-07-17) 17 July 1956 (age 61)
Lobethal, South Australia
Political party Liberal Party
Spouse(s) Neil Gillon (1983–1988)
Domestic partner David Panton (2014–present)
Alma mater University of Adelaide[1][2]

Julie Isabel Bishop (born 17 July 1956) is an Australian politician who has been Minister for Foreign Affairs since 2013 and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party since 2007.[4][5]

After working at law firm Clayton Utz, Bishop was elected to the Australian House of Representatives at the 1998 federal election for the seat of Curtin in Western Australia.[1] She subsequently served in the Howard Government as the Minister for Ageing from 2003 to 2006, and as both Minister for Education and Science and Minister for Women from 2006 to 2007.

Early life and career

Bishop was born in Lobethal, South Australia, and grew up on a cherry farm in the Adelaide Hills.[6][7] She was educated at St Peter's Collegiate Girls' School and later studied law at the University of Adelaide, graduating in 1978. She practised as both a barrister and solicitor at the Adelaide law firm Mangan, Ey & Bishop, where she rose to become a partner.

In 1983, Bishop moved to Perth, Western Australia, where she practised as a commercial litigation solicitor at Clayton Utz, which was then known as Robinson Cox. While working at Clayton Utz, she 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.[8][9] She was made a partner in Clayton Utz in 1985.

Bishop became managing partner of Clayton Utz's Perth office in 1994. In 1996, she attended Harvard Business School for eight weeks to complete an Advanced Management Program for Senior Managers.[10][11] It was during this course that she later said she became inspired to serve her country; after she returned from the United States, she was appointed as a delegate to the 1998 Constitutional Convention on the Republic. There she met David Johnston, President of the Western Australian Liberals, who convinced her to enter federal politics.[1]

Shortly afterwards Bishop chaired the Town Planning Appeal Tribunal of Western Australia, joined the Senate of Murdoch University and worked as a director of the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) and as a fellow of the Australian Institute of Management Education and Training. She has also served as a Governor of the Lions Ear and Hearing Institute.[12]

Political career

Member of Parliament

Bishop won preselection to become the Liberal Party candidate for the seat of Curtin in 1998, going on to win the seat at that year's federal election, defeating the incumbent Allan Rocher, a former Liberal who stood as an independent.

After the Liberal Party lost the 2001 state election in Western Australia, with Richard Court being replaced as Premier by Labor's Geoff Gallop, Bishop was suggest by multiple media sources as a possible replacement as Leader of the Western Australian Liberal Party.[12] It was later confirmed that Court favoured an arrangement where he would resign his seat in the Legislative Assembly to allow Bishop to replace him.[13] However, Bishop eventually rejected the deal.[12]

Howard Government

Bishop while Education Minister in 2007

Bishop was appointed Minister for Ageing by Prime Minister John Howard in 2003. She was later promoted to Minister for Education and Science and Minister for Women in 2006 and served in those positions until the defeat of the Howard Government at the 2007 federal election.

As Education Minister, Bishop's policies centred on the development of national education standards as well as performance-based pay for teachers.[14] On 13 April 2007, the Australian State Governments jointly expressed opposition to Bishop's pay policy. In the 2007 budget, the Federal Government announced a $5 billion "endowment fund" for higher education, with the expressed goal of providing world-class tertiary institutions in Australia.[15] Some of Bishop's public comments on education, including the remark that "the states have ideologically hijacked school syllabi and are wasting $180 million in unnecessary duplication", were criticised by teachers. An advance media kit for a 2006 speech claimed parts of the contemporary curriculum came "straight from Chairman Mao"; the remark was dropped from her speech.[16][17]

In 2006, Bishop was offered substantial donations to the Liberal Party by Tim Johnston, the Perth-based head of the fraudulent company Firepower International, who sought her co-operation in obtaining substantial Commonwealth funding for his operations.[18] Bishop facilitated Johnston's access to the Howard Government at the highest level, compounding extensive official complicity and Austrade funding of the multimillion-dollar scam.[19] For example, Firepower was promoted as a co-sponsor of the trade show "Australia Week in Moscow", which was opened by the Australian Governor-General Michael Jeffery on 10 May 2005.[20]

Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Following the 2007 election, Bishop was elected Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party on 29 November 2007; Brendan Nelson was elected Leader. In a ballot of Liberal Party room members, Bishop comfortably won with 44 votes, one more than the combined total of her two competitors, Andrew Robb (with 25 votes) and Christopher Pyne (with 18 votes).[21]

On 22 September 2008, Bishop was promoted to the role of Shadow Treasurer by Nelson's successor as Opposition Leader, Malcolm Turnbull, making her the first woman to hold that portfolio.[22][23] On 16 February 2009, however, she was moved from that position, with widespread media speculation that her colleagues were dissatisfied with her performance in the role. She was instead given the job of Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs.[24] After Tony Abbott was elected Liberal Leader following the 2009 leadership spill, Bishop retained her roles as Deputy Leader and Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs.[25][26]

In 2010, Bishop defended the suspected forgery of Australian passports by Mossad, saying that many countries practised the forging of passports for intelligence operations, including Australia.[27] The Rudd Government attacked Bishop over the statements, saying she had "broken a long-standing convention" of not speculating about intelligence practices.[28][29] She later clarified her statement, saying, "I have no knowledge of any Australian authority forging any passports of any nation."[30]

Following the Coalition's narrow loss in the 2010 federal election, Bishop was re-elected unanimously as Deputy Leader by her colleagues and retained the position of Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, while also being given the additional responsibility of Shadow Minister for Trade.[31]

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Bishop being sworn in as Foreign Minister by Quentin Bryce at Government House in 2013

After the Coalition won the 2013 federal election, new Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed Bishop as Minister for Foreign Affairs; she was sworn in by Governor-General Quentin Bryce on 18 September 2013. She became the only female member of the Cabinet and was regarded as the third most senior minister after Abbott and Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss.[32] In the months following her appointment several media reports claimed that Bishop, along with Social Services Minister Scott Morrison, were regarded internally as the best performing ministers in the Government.[33]

In December 2014, Bishop became only the second female Acting Prime Minister of Australia, after Julia Gillard.[34][35] Throughout her tenure as Foreign Minister, Bishop has been frequently tipped by political commentators as a possible future Leader of the Liberal Party and Prime Minister.[36][37][38][39]

ISIS fighters

In a 2015 speech explaining the Australian Government's measures against ISIS, Bishop compared the psychological underpinnings of ISIS with that of Nazism. Citing Eric Hoffer's seminal work The True Believer, she argued that the declared Caliphate drew from the same source that drove the masses to support Hitler; "Invincibility was – until the US-led airstrikes – all part of its attraction."[40]

In October 2014, Man Haron Monis wrote to Attorney-General George Brandis asking if he (Monis) could contact the leader of ISIS, two months before he took hostages in the Sydney siege. On 28 May 2015, Bishop told Parliament that the letter was provided to a review of the siege, before correcting the record three days later.[41][42]

New Colombo Plan

Months after the Abbott Government took office, 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.[43]

UN Security Council

Bishop meeting United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon in November 2014

Although Bishop fought against the Gillard Government's campaign to gain Australia a temporary two-year seat on the United Nations Security Council, she was widely lauded for her commanding performance when representing Australia on the Council in her capacity as Foreign Minister. She negotiated a successful resolution that was adopted by the Council in regards to gaining full access to the crash site of Flight MH17.[44]

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.[44] Later, Bishop led negotiations to pass a resolution to set up an independent criminal tribunal into the downing of Flight MH17. Although Russia vetoed the resolution, Bishop was widely praised by other delegates 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".[45]

February 2015 leadership spill

In February 2015, in response to rising criticisms of his leadership, Tony Abbott called a spill of leadership positions. Both Julie Bishop and Communications Minister 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 by the public to Abbott.[46] Eventually a motion to move a leadership spill fell by 61 votes to 39, Abbott remained in office.[47]

Australian-Indonesian relations

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. Demonstrating Australia's opposition to the death penalty, Bishop was widely applauded for the manner in which she conducted negotiations. This was in stark contrast to the criticism faced by Tony Abbott who was ridiculed for remarks he made in regards to foreign aid provided by Australia to Indonesia. Despite the Government's efforts, both Chan and Sukumaran were executed in April 2015.[48] As a result of the executions, Bishop recalled the Australian Ambassador from Indonesia in condemnation of their decision.[48]

By August 2015, Bishop stated that Australia's relationship with Indonesia was "back on track" after privately meeting with the Indonesian Foreign Minister to discuss the fallout from the executions.[49]

Same-sex marriage

During the internal debate on same-sex marriage which divided the Liberal Party in August 2015, Bishop refused to publicly declare her personal views on the matter. However, her statement that she was "very liberally minded" on the topic was taken by many to be an allusion towards support of same-sex marriage.[50]

On 11 August 2015, Bishop spoke in favour of holding a plebiscite on the matter, believing that the issue should be put to a democratic vote so that it could no longer distract from the Government's policy agenda. This ultimately became the policy adopted by the Government.[51] Following the postal plebiscite in 2017, which resulted in a Yes vote, Bishop revealed that she had voted in support of same-sex marriage.[52]

September 2015 leadership spill

On 14 September 2015, Malcolm Turnbull challenged Tony Abbott for the leadership of the Liberal Party. After Turnbull was successfully elected, Bishop defeated a challenge from Kevin Andrews to retain her position as Deputy Leader by 70 votes to 30.[53] Hours before Turnbull's challenge, Bishop had visited Abbott to advise him he had lost the confidence of the Parliamentary Liberal Party. She is said to have intended to vote for Abbott in the leadership vote until he declared her position vacant as well as his, after which she voted for Turnbull.[54] Bishop was retained as Foreign Minister following the formation of the Turnbull Government.

Political beliefs

Bishop is regarded as a being a moderate within the Liberal Party, and has been compared to Malcolm Turnbull. She has stated that she regards herself a "very liberal minded person".[55]

Bishop is in favour of an Australian republic, having served as a delegate at the Constitutional Convention of 1998.[56] When a conscience vote has been allowed by the Liberal Party, Bishop has always voted in a "progressive", voting in favour of allowing stem cell research and for removing ministerial oversight of the abortion pill RU486.[57]

Bishop was a strong proponent of holding a plebiscite on the issue of same-sex marriage.[57] In a television interview in November 2015, Bishop confirmed that she supported same-sex marriage.[58][59]

Personal life

In 1983, Bishop married property developer Neil Gillon. The couple divorced in 1988. She subsequently had relationships with Liberal State Senator Ross Lightfoot and former Lord Mayor of Perth Peter Nattrass.[60][61] Her partner since 2014 has been property developer David Panton.[62]


Foreign honours


See also


  1. ^ a b c Rowan Callick (28 September 2013). "Julie Bishop: All the right moves". The Australian. Retrieved 14 December 2015. 
  2. ^ "About Julie Bishop". Hon Julie Bishop MP. 
  3. ^ "Julie Bishop: Australia's newest female Member of Cabinet". ABC. 12 April 2006. Retrieved 31 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "Tony Abbott's cabinet and outer ministry". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2013. 
  5. ^ Pearlman, Jonathan (29 November 2007). "Nelson wins Liberal leadership". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 29 November 2007. 
  6. ^ Spagnolo, Joe (21 September 2013). "Julie Bishop is living the dream following Coalition election to government". The Sunday Telegraph. Sydney: News Corp Australia. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  7. ^ King, Madonna (21 November 2014). "Less of a Bishop, more of a pope". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney. Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  8. ^ "Bishop's lawyer work a source of shame". Herald Sun. Melbourne. AAP. 27 November 2012. Retrieved 14 July 2014. 
  9. ^ Maher, Sid (19 November 2012). "I was advised by the best on asbestos cases, says Julie Bishop". The Australian. Retrieved 14 July 2014. 
  10. ^ "Advanced Management Program | Programs – HBS Executive Education". 18 March 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  11. ^ Davis, Mark (7 September 2007). "True blue to her boots". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c Grattan, Michelle (11 October 2003). "New kid on the block". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 28 November 2007. 
  13. ^ Provost, Jenelle (26 February 2001). "New WA Liberals leader takes on divided party (transcript)". The 7:30 Report. ABC Television. Retrieved 28 November 2007. 
  14. ^ Bishop, Julie (30 January 2007). "Rudd revolution will take more than rhetoric – Opinion". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 June 2010. 
  15. ^ "Hon Julie Bishop MP – Budget 2007–08 Media Releases". 8 May 2007. Archived from the original on 9 March 2011. Retrieved 13 June 2010. 
  16. ^ "Thatcher v Mao – what a week for ideology – Opinion". The Age. Melbourne. 7 October 2006. Retrieved 6 May 2007. 
  17. ^ Ferrari, Justine (6 October 2006). "Canberra to seize syllabus from states". The Australian. Retrieved 6 May 2007. 
  18. ^ Ryle G. & Magnay J. Firepower chief had dinner with Howard. The Sydney Morning Herald 15 July 2008
  19. ^ Austrade doles out to secretive firm. The Sydney Morning Herald 10 January 2007
  20. ^ Australia Week Moscow – May 2005 at Retrieved 20 March 2015
  21. ^ O'Malley, Sandra (29 November 2007). "Divided Liberals choose Nelson to lead". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. Retrieved 13 July 2007. 
  22. ^ "Malcolm Turnbull Shadow Ministry team". The Daily Telegraph. Sydney. 22 September 2008. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  23. ^ Hudson, Phillip (22 September 2008). "Nelson's men dumped". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  24. ^ Coorey, Phillip (16 February 2009). "Bishop quits as shadow treasurer". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. Retrieved 16 February 2009. 
  25. ^ Kerr, Christian (2 December 2009). "Julie Bishop keeps job continuity as deputy leader". The Australian. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  26. ^ Sharp, Ari (8 December 2009). "Abbott reveals new frontbench after reshuffle". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  27. ^ Harvey, Michael (26 May 2010). "Liberal Deputy Julie Bishop 'jeopardising' security over passport claim". Herald Sun. Melbourne. Retrieved 13 June 2010. 
  28. ^ "First the Israelis, now Julie Bishop's under attack over faked passport scandal". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 26 May 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  29. ^ Lester, Tim (25 May 2010). "Australia forges passports too, says Bishop". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 June 2010. 
  30. ^ Grattan, Michelle; Lester, Tim; Koutsoukis, Jason. "Passport gaffe trips Liberals' deputy leader". The Age. Melbournedate=26 May 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  31. ^ "Abbott announces his shadow ministry". Australian Conservative. 11 September 2010. Archived from the original on 25 July 2014. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  32. ^ "'Not a selfie among us': Tony Abbott and his team are sworn-in". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  33. ^ Fitzgerald, Ross (20 December 2014). "Tony Abbott's top performers line up for promotion in ministry reshuffle". Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  34. ^ Ireland, Judith (5 December 2014). "The highs, lows and whoas of Federal Parliament in 2014". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 17 April 2017. 
  35. ^ Lewis, Rosie (31 December 2014). "Julie Bishop: We must sell budget cuts". The Australian. Retrieved 17 April 2017. 
  36. ^ Reith, Peter (28 July 2014). "Why Julie Bishop should be our next Coalition PM". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 17 April 2017. 
  37. ^ Matthewson, Paula (7 October 2014). "Julie Bishop: right woman, wrong time". ABC News. Retrieved 17 April 2017. 
  38. ^ Reith, Peter (23 October 2014). "Julie Bishop a 'hero' for women; could be prime minister, says Liberal MP Teresa Gambaro". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 17 April 2017. 
  39. ^ Peatling, Stephanie (10 March 2015). "Julie and Julia: How Julie Bishop appears to have avoided the traps that snared Julia Gillard". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 17 April 2017. 
  40. ^ Bishop, Julie (18 March 2015). "Battling the Orwellian nightmare of Islamic State's mind control". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 21 March 2015. 
  41. ^ "Labor accuses Federal Government of misleading Parliament over Man Haron Monis letter, calls on Prime Minister to 'come clean'". ABC News. 4 July 2015. 
  42. ^ "Sydney siege: Tony Abbott's office knew Julie Bishop had misled Parliament three days before correction". The Sydney Morning Herald. 4 July 2015. 
  43. ^ "Bumper year for New Colombo Plan". InDaily – Adelaide News. 
  44. ^ a b "The irony behind Julie Bishop's success at the United Nations Security Council". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  45. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 21 September 2015. 
  46. ^ "Julie Bishop says she won't challenge Tony Abbott for leadership, nor is she rounding up backbench support". 1015fm. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. 
  47. ^ "'Damaged goods': Abbott survives leadership coup". 
  48. ^ a b "Bali 9: How Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop learnt of the executions". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  49. ^ "Relations with Indonesia back on track: Julie Bishop". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  50. ^ "Julie Bishop hints at support for same-sex marriage". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  51. ^ "Julie Bishop Exclusive: 'I Am Showing Leadership On Same Sex Marriage'". The Huffington Post. 
  52. ^
  53. ^ "Julie Bishop says Tony Abbott failed to 'turn things around'". 15 September 2015. Retrieved 15 September 2015. 
  54. ^ Pamela Williams, "How to stage a coup", The Australian, 20 October 2015.
  55. ^ "Julie Bishop Softens Stance on Gay Marriage, Says She's 'Very Liberal Minded'". The Huffington Post. 
  56. ^ "Liberals quietly go monarchist under Abbott". 
  57. ^ a b "Does she or doesn't she? Julie Bishop's gay marriage silence polarises colleagues". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  58. ^ Keany, Francis (3 November 2015). "Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announces support for same-sex marriage, backs plebiscite". ABC. Sydney. Retrieved 30 April 2016. 
  59. ^ Massola, James (2 November 2015). "Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop lends support to same-sex marriage". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney. Retrieved 30 April 2016. 
  60. ^ Mayes, Andrea (10 August 2007). "Rise and rise of Julie Bishop". The Sunday Times. Perth. Archived from the original on 30 December 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  61. ^ Snow, Deborah (23 September 2013). "The talented Miss Julie". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  62. ^ "David Panton - Julie Bishop's hunky partner is a property developer". Retrieved 20 October 2017. 
  63. ^ Medal of Merit, Embassy, Consulate-General and Consulates, Australia, 5 September 2014, retrieved 8 September 2014 

External links

  • Official website
  • Search or browse Hansard for Julie Bishop at
  • Summary of parliamentary voting for Julie Bishop MP on
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Allan Rocher
Member for Curtin
Political offices
Preceded by
Kevin Andrews
Minister for Ageing
Succeeded by
Santo Santoro
Preceded by
Brendan Nelson
Minister for Education and Science
Succeeded by
Julia Gillard
Preceded by
Kay Patterson
Minister for Women
Succeeded by
Tanya Plibersek
Preceded by
Julia Gillard
Deputy Leader of the Opposition
Succeeded by
Anthony Albanese
Preceded by
Bob Carr
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Party political offices
Preceded by
Peter Costello
Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party
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