It has been just six months since she went up against Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton for leadership of the Liberal Party following the ousting of Malcolm Turnbull, but now Julie Bishop has announced she is resigning from politics.
The former foreign minister addressed the Lower House on Thursday, announcing that she would not be recontesting her seat of Curtin, in Western Australia, at the upcoming federal election, which is expected to be set for May 11 or 18.
Despite holding the seat since 1998, Bishop revealed she will be stepping aside to allow other talented female candidates to qualify for Liberal preselection, adding that she is leaving her “beloved” seat in “very good shape”.
“I have been contacted by a number of talented, indeed extraordinary, people, including women, who have indicated to me that should I not reconsidered the seat of Curtin, they would seek preselection from the Curtin division of the Liberal Party for that seat,” she said. “Accordingly, I will not re- contest the seat of Curtin at the next election. And I will work hard in the meantime to assist a new Liberal candidates to win the seat.”
Thanking her long-term partner David Panton, her colleagues, friends and family, the former deputy leader of the Liberal Party said: “It has been an immense honour to be the longest serving member for Curtin and the first female deputy leader of the Liberal Party for half my political career.
“I thank the Liberal Party, my colleagues, past and present of this place and Liberal members across Australia, and everywhere, for the remarkable opportunity they have afforded me to be a member of the House of Representatives since 1998. I have been blessed to work with some outstanding political and ministerial staff.”
Bishop also addressed her bid for leadership last summer, adding that she is also the first female to ever contest for leadership of the party, before saying she looks forward to seeing a lot more of her “close and trusted friends” once her term is over.
She added: “I said in my first speech that I was brought up to believe that entering public office should be one of the highest callings and being able to direct your energy and abilities to the betterment of state and country is one of greatest contributions you can make. That remains my view.
“I leave this place positive about the future, proud of the service I have been able to give, to my electoral, beloved Liberal Party, state of WA and my country.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke after Bishop, thanking her for her 20 plus years of service and describing her as “a Liberal through and through”.
“She is an incredibly classy individual,” Morrison said, before praising her for her “passion, dignity and grace”.
He said: “Julie Bishop is a giant of the Liberal Party and she has been a ground breaker for women in public life. Julie has been a good friend. I have valued her judgement, appreciated her insight and admired the tireless way she has served the Party, the Parliament and Australia.”
While close friend and colleague Malcolm Turnbull took to Twitter to thank the outgoing MP for her service and friendship, writing: “Thank you @JulieBishopMP for your service to our nation and our Party and, above all, your friendship over so many years. You have been our finest Foreign Minister – eloquent, elegant and always courageous advancing our national interest in these challenging times.”
Thank you @JulieBishopMP for your service to our nation and our Party and, above all, your friendship over so many years. You have been our finest Foreign Minister – eloquent, elegant and always courageous advancing our national interest in these challenging times.
— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) February 21, 2019
Bishop’s resignation comes just five months after she confirmed to the ABC that she would be recontesting her seat, despite stepping down as foreign minister following her defeat in the second partyroom spill which saw Scott Morrison elected as Turnbull’s replacement.
At the time, the 62-year-old cited “overwhelming support” from her electorate for her reason and also said Australia needs stability when it comes to politics.
“I think their interests come first,” Bishop she said. “It’s very much a personal decision for me, but I believe the country needs stability and continuity at present.”