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Julie Bishop

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Julie Bishop

The Honourable
Julie Bishop
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 (2007-2008)
Malcolm Turnbull (2008-2009)
Tony Abbott (2009-2015) Malcolm Turnbull (2015-Present)
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, Science and Training
In office
27 January 2006 – 3 December 2007
Prime Minister John Howard
Preceded by Brendan Nelson
Succeeded by Julia Gillard
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women's Issues
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 17.42%
Personal details
Born Julie Isabel Bishop
(1956-07-17) 17 July 1956
Lobethal, South Australia
Political party Liberal Party
Other political
Spouse(s) Neil Gillon (1983–1988)
Alma mater University of Adelaide
Religion Christianity[1]

Julie Isabel Bishop MP (born 17 July 1956) is an Australian politician, serving as the Minister for Foreign Affairs since 2013 and the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party since 2007.[2][3] Bishop grew up in the Adelaide Hills and was educated at the St Peter's Collegiate Girls' School, later attending the University of Adelaide. Prior to entering politics, she was Managing Partner of top-tier Australian law firm, Clayton Utz.[4]

Bishop began her political career as a member of the Australian House of Representatives during the 1998 federal election for the seat of Curtin in Western Australia. She is the first female Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party and only the third woman to have held the title of Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

Bishop previously served in the Howard Government as the Minister for Ageing from 2003 to 2006 and the Minister for Education, Science and Training from 2006 to 2007 until the defeat of the Liberal/National Coalition at the election held on 24 November 2007.


  • Early life and career 1
  • Political career 2
    • Member of Parliament 2.1
    • Howard Government 2.2
    • Opposition 2.3
    • Abbott Government 2.4
      • Foreign fighters 2.4.1
      • New Colombo Plan 2.4.2
      • MH17 and UN Security Council seat 2.4.3
      • February 2015 leadership spill 2.4.4
      • Australian-Indonesian relations 2.4.5
      • Same-sex marriage debate 2.4.6
      • September 2015 leadership spill 2.4.7
    • Turnbull Government 2.5
  • Political positions 3
  • Personal life 4
  • Titles, styles and honours 5
    • Honours 5.1
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life and career

Bishop was born in Lobethal, South Australia, growing up on a cherry farm in the Adelaide Hills.[5][6] She was educated at St Peter's Collegiate Girls' School and later at the University of Adelaide, where she studied law, graduating in 1978. She practised as a barrister and solicitor at the Adelaide law firm Mangan, Ey & Bishop, where she was a partner.

In 1983, Bishop moved 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, 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.[7][8] She became a partner of Clayton Utz in 1985.

Bishop became managing partner of the Perth office of Clayton Utz in 1994. In 1996, she attended Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts, and completed the eight-week Advanced Management Program for Senior Managers.[9][10]

Bishop chaired the Town Planning Appeal Tribunal of Western Australia, belonged to the senate of Murdoch University and was a director of the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) and a director and fellow of the Australian Institute of Management. She has also served on the Council of Governors of the Lions Ear and Hearing Institute.[11]

Political career

Member of Parliament

Bishop won preselection 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, 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 leader of the state opposition.[11] Initially, Court announced that he would lead the Liberals into opposition. However, behind the scenes he was engineering a deal under which both he and his deputy leader and factional opponent, Colin Barnett, would resign from the state legislature. Bishop would have handed her comfortably safe federal seat to Barnett, entered the state parliament via a by-election in either Barnett or Court's comfortably safe state seats and succeeded Court as state Liberal leader.[12] The deal soon collapsed, however, when Bishop turned it down, declaring that the arrangement wasn't bizarre, but "innovative, different".[11] Court was forced to leave politics altogether, and Barnett took over as state opposition leader.

Howard Government

Bishop in 2007

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.[13] 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 the expressed goal of providing world-class tertiary institutions in Australia.[14]

Some of Bishop's comments, such as "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"; however, the reference was dropped from her speech.[15][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 (with BHP Billiton) of the trade show "Australia Week in Moscow", which was opened by the Australian head of state, Governor General Michael Jeffery[20]:114 on 10 May 2005.[21]


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).[22] Nelson 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.[23]

Bishop and Quentin Bryce, 2013

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,[24] making her the first woman to hold the portfolio of any major party at the federal level.[25] 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 and the shadow treasury portfolio was taken over by Joe Hockey.[26] On 1 December 2009, Tony Abbott was elected leader after a leadership spill. Bishop retained the deputy role without being challenged for the position[27] and also retained her role as Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs in Abbott's shadow cabinet.[28]

In 2010, Bishop defended [32]

Following the Coalition's narrow loss in the 2010 federal election, Bishop retained the roles of Deputy Leader and Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and was given the added responsibility of Shadow Minister for Trade.[33]

Abbott Government

Bishop being sworn in as Foreign Minister by Quentin Bryce at Government House
Bishop with US Secretary of State John Kerry

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.[34]

Along with Scott Morrison, Bishop has been widely regarded as one of the best performing ministers in the government.[35]

Foreign 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."[36]

In October 2014, Man Haron Monis wrote to the Attorney-General asking if he could contact the leader of ISIL, one month before he took hostages in the Sydney siege. On May 28, 2015, Bishop told Parliament that the letter was provided to a review of the siege, before correcting the record three days later.[37][38]

New Colombo Plan

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.[39]

MH17 and 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.[40]

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.[40]

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'.[41]

February 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.[42]

The leadership motion failed 61 to 39 and Abbott was re-elected unopposed as leader of the Liberal Party and retained the Prime Ministership.[43]

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 the nations opposition, and a personal 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 Prime Minister Abbott who was ridiculed for remarks he made in regards to foreign aid provided by Australia to Indonesia. Despite the governments efforts, both Chan and Sukumaran were executed.[44]

As a result of the executions, Bishop recalled the Australian ambassador from Indonesia in condemnation of their decision.[44] However, by August 2015 Bishop stated that the relationship with Indonesia is back on track after privately meeting with the Indonesian Foreign Minister.[45]

Same-sex marriage debate

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 " but also believes that religious institutions should be given protections that prevent them being persecuted against based on their religious beliefs.[46]

On August 11, 2015, Bishop is said to have spoken very powerfully in favour of a plebiscite in the Coalition party room, believing that the issue should be put to a democratic vote after the next election so that it could no longer distract from the government's policy agenda during the current term. This ultimately became the policy adopted by the Abbott Government.[47]

September 2015 leadership spill

During the September 2015 spill that saw Abbott replaced by Turnbull as party leader and prime minister, Bishop retained her role as Deputy Leader of the party, defeating a challenge from Kevin Andrews in a 70-30 vote.[48] On the day of the leadership change, she advised the then Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, that he had lost the confidence of the Parliamentary Liberal Party. She is said to have intended to vote for Mr Abbott in the leadership vote called for that evening until he declared her position vacant as well as his.[49]

Turnbull Government

Bishop retained the Foreign Affairs portfolio following the formation of the Turnbull Government.

Political positions

Bishop is considered a member of the moderate side of the Liberal Party, similarly to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. She has stated that she considers herself a "very liberal minded person".[50]

Bishop is in favour of an Australian republic and was a delegate at the constitutional convention of 1998.[51] When a conscience vote has been allowed by the Liberal Party, Bishop has always voted on the "progressive side", voting in favour of allowing stem cell research and for removing ministerial oversight of the abortion pill RU486.[52]

Bishop has not publicly stated her personal views on same-sex marriage, however, has been a strong proponent of holding a plebiscite on the issue.[52]

Personal life

In 1983, Bishop married property developer Neil Gillon. The couple divorced in 1988. She has subsequently had relationships with Liberal state MP and senator Ross Lightfoot and a former Lord Mayor of Perth, Peter Nattrass.[53][54] Her current partner is property developer David Panton.[55]

Titles, styles and honours


Foreign honours
  • 5 September 2014: Commander of the Order of Merit of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[56]


  1. ^ "Julie Bishop: Australia's newest female Member of Cabinet". ABC (ABC). 12 April 2006. Retrieved 31 December 2014. 
  2. ^ "Tony Abbott's cabinet and outer ministry".  
  3. ^ Pearlman, Jonathan (29 November 2007). "Nelson wins Liberal leadership".  
  4. ^
  5. ^ Spagnolo, Joe (21 September 2013). "Julie Bishop is living the dream following Coalition election to government".  
  6. ^ King, Madonna (21 November 2014). "Less of a Bishop, more of a pope".  
  7. ^ "Bishop's lawyer work a source of shame".  
  8. ^ Maher, Sid (19 November 2012). "I was advised by the best on asbestos cases, says Julie Bishop".  
  9. ^ "Advanced Management Program | Leadership | Programs – HBS Executive Education". 18 March 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  10. ^ Davis, Mark (7 September 2007). "True blue to her boots".  
  11. ^ a b c Grattan, Michelle (11 October 2003). "New kid on the block".  
  12. ^ Provost, Jenelle (26 February 2001). "New WA Liberals leader takes on divided party (transcript)".  
  13. ^ Bishop, Julie (30 January 2007). "Rudd revolution will take more than rhetoric – Opinion".  
  14. ^ "Hon Julie Bishop MP – Budget 2007–08 Media Releases". 8 May 2007. Retrieved 13 June 2010. 
  15. ^ "Thatcher v Mao – what a week for ideology – Opinion".  
  16. ^ Ferrari, Justine (6 October 2006). "Canberra to seize syllabus from states".  
  17. ^ Turtle, Michael (13 April 2007). "States reject performance pay for teachers".  
  18. ^ Ryle G. & Magnay J. Firepower chief had dinner with Howard. Sydney Morning Herald 15 July 2008
  19. ^ Austrade doles out to secretive firm. Sydney Morning Herald 10 January 2007
  20. ^ Ryle, Gerard Firepower: The most spectacular fraud in Australian history Allen & Unwin, Sydney 2009. ISBN 978-1-74175-355-4
  21. ^ Australia Week Moscow - May 2005 at Accessed 20 March 2015
  22. ^ O'Malley, Sandra (29 November 2007). "Divided Liberals choose Nelson to lead".  
  23. ^ "Nelson unveils shadow ministry".  
  24. ^ "Malcolm Turnbull Shadow Ministry team".  
  25. ^ Hudson, Phillip (22 September 2008). "Nelson's men dumped".  
  26. ^ Coorey, Phillip (16 February 2009). "Bishop quits as shadow treasurer".  
  27. ^ Kerr, Christian (2 December 2009). "Julie Bishop keeps job continuity as deputy leader".  
  28. ^ Sharp, Ari (8 December 2009). "Abbott reveals new frontbench after reshuffle".  
  29. ^ Harvey, Michael (26 May 2010). "Liberal Deputy Julie Bishop 'jeopardising' security over passport claim".  
  30. ^ "First the Israelis, now Julie Bishop's under attack over faked passport scandal".  
  31. ^ Lester, Tim (25 May 2010). "Australia forges passports too, says Bishop".  
  32. ^ Grattan, Michelle; Lester, Tim; Koutsoukis, Jason. "Passport gaffe trips Liberals' deputy leader".  
  33. ^ "Abbott announces his shadow ministry". Australian Conservative. 11 September 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  34. ^ Not a selfie among us': Tony Abbott and his team are sworn-in"'". 
  35. ^ "Professor Ross Fitzgerald » Blog Archive » Tony Abbott’s top performers line up for promotion in ministry reshuffle". 
  36. ^ Bishop, Julie (18 March 2015). "Battling the Orwellian nightmare of Islamic State's mind control".  
  37. ^ "'"Labor accuses Federal Government of misleading Parliament over Man Haron Monis letter, calls on Prime Minister to 'come clean. ABC News. 4 July 2015. 
  38. ^ "Sydney siege: Tony Abbott's office knew Julie Bishop had misled Parliament three days before correction". Sydney Morning Herald. 4 July 2015. 
  39. ^ "Bumper year for New Colombo Plan". InDaily - Adelaide News. 
  40. ^ a b "The irony behind Julie Bishop's success at the United Nations Security Council". 
  41. ^
  42. ^ "Julie Bishop says she won't challenge Tony Abbott for leadership, nor is she rounding up backbench support". 1015fm. 
  43. ^ "‘Damaged goods’: Abbott survives leadership coup". 
  44. ^ a b "Bali 9: How Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop learnt of the executions". 
  45. ^ "Relations with Indonesia back on track: Julie Bishop". 
  46. ^ "Julie Bishop hints at support for same-sex marriage". 
  47. ^ "'"Julie Bishop Exclusive: 'I Am Showing Leadership On Same Sex Marriage. The Huffington Post. 
  48. ^ "'"Julie Bishop says Tony Abbott failed to 'turn things around. 15 September 2015. Retrieved 15 September 2015. 
  49. ^ Pamela Williams, "How to stage a coup", The Australian, 20 October 2015.
  50. ^ "'"Julie Bishop Softens Stance On Gay Marriage, Says She's 'Very Liberal Minded. The Huffington Post. 
  51. ^ "Liberals quietly go monarchist under Abbott - Crikey". 
  52. ^ a b "Does she or doesn't she? Julie Bishop's gay marriage silence polarises colleagues". 
  53. ^ Mayes, Andrea (10 August 2007). "Rise and rise of Julie Bishop".  
  54. ^ Snow, Deborah (23 September 2013). "The talented Miss Julie".  
  55. ^ Butler, Ben (5 November 2014). "All's laissez-faire in love and war". Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  56. ^ 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 of Parliament
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 Assisting the Prime Minister for Women's Issues
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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