After announcing her resignation as Minister for Foreign Affairs on Sunday, Julie Bishop has now rubbished speculation that she will be quitting parliament immediately and confirmed, during an emotional press conference on Tuesday, that she would remain on the backbench as the member for Curtin.
The former Foreign Minister appeared to be holding back tears as she told reporters she felt “optimistic about her future” during the speech outside of Parliament House, after refusing to deny the rumours that she may step into the role of Governor-General.
Bishop, who stood against now-Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton in the second leadership spill on Friday, also said she believed the Liberal Party would one day elect a female leader, saying “when we find one, I’m sure we will”.
Speaking about the ousting of her “dear friend” Malcolm Turnbull, who was replaced by former Treasurer Scott Morrison as leader of the Liberal Party and Prime Minister, Bishop implied she had been forced into making “life-changing decisions” without adequate time to consider her options.
“He is one of the most substantial public figures of our times,” Bishop said of Turnbull. “Malcolm and I have been dear friends for almost 30 years. We have left the leadership team together and, as closer friends than ever before.”
She also opened up about what the MH17 disaster, which she described as the “most emotional day of her life”, and called on her successor Marise Payne to continue to fight for justice for the victims.
On Monday, the 62-year-old politician hit out at dirty tactics she believes sabotaged her leadership bid, admitting the recent spill has left her and others “personally devastated”, after leaked WhatsApp messages were broadcast by the ABC’s Insiders programme, allegedly showing correspondence between Liberal politicians who were urging her supporters to vote for Scott Morrison instead.
In an interview with The West Australian, Bishop appeared to question why other Western Australian politicians didn’t back her for the PM job, and admitted that she was aware of the Whatsapp group between some Liberal MPs.