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Is Julie Bishop leadership material?

The media, prompted by the Nationals, far right conservatives and Kevin Rudd, have decided that Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership must end.

But who might replace him?

The polls say Julie Bishop but they are, I suspect, heavily swayed by left wing voters aghast at the other alternatives.

Does she deserve this support?

Ms Bishop is articulate, well-groomed, and a fitness fanatic.

But what of the substance, the integrity, the judgement?

When given the role of Shadow Treasurer by Malcolm Turnbull in 2008, she lasted less than five months before being forced to resign due to dissatisfaction within Liberal ranks over her performance. She then moved to foreign affairs.

People say she is hard-working and she certainly travels a lot but, when you look a little deeper, so many of her meetings happen to coincide with her football team playing, or a gala ball, or fashion week, or the racing carnival, or the polo, or a celebrity event.

According to the article accompanying Julie’s photo shoot in Stellar last year:

Bishop’s enemies – and she does have them within her party, mostly allies of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott who believe, despite her denials, that she betrayed him – accuse her of being starstruck. They say she loves parties and globetrotting and celebrities a little too much.

And there are certainly endless photos to back up that view.

It is also said that the Foreign Minister presents a calm considered reaction but, when she gets cross, that seems to fly out the window as shown by her over-the-top attack on NZ Labour leader Jacinda Ardern when a Labor staffer inquired from a Kiwi counterpart about the law regarding NZ citizenship.

As the Coalition attack Sam Dastyari about his connections to the Chinese, they really need to be examining their own.

SMH reported in August last year that:

“Chinese businessmen with links to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop have donated half a million dollars to the Western Australian division of the Liberal Party during the past two years. All the donors have links to the Chinese government, and the vast bulk of the money was given by companies with no apparent business interests in WA.”

And let’s not forget the $100,000 donated by Yuhu Group executives to then trade minister Andrew Robb’s fundraising entity, including $50,000 on the day the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement was settled. Mr Robb’s former staffer Cameron Hill is now working for Yuhu. Robb now works for the Chinese company to whom he gave a 99 year lease on the Port of Darwin.

Julie has shown very poor judgment in the past about the people she promotes.

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. 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 involving a non-existent fuel efficiency pill.

Then there was Bishop’s appointment of Bjorn Lomberg to her InnovationXchange. Emails reveal he was far more interested in assurances that all his travel costs would be paid for by the government than in what he would actually be expected to do. She also wanted to gift him $4 million to set up some sort of think tank except no university wanted him.

John Mashey describes Lomberg’s Copenhagen Consensus Center’s policies as a pattern of “profit-protective priorities, which might be cast as: kill mosquitoes and viruses, but burn coal, eat sugar, and thank you for smoking.”

In a December 2013 op-ed in the New York Times titled “The Poor Need Cheap Fossil Fuels,” Lomborg stated that Western nations “should not stand in the way of poorer nations as they turn to coal and other fossil fuels.”

Also appointed to Julie’s InnovationXchange was Sanjay Reddy, the son of Gina Rinehart’s business partner GVK Reddy. You will remember that Gina flew Julie and Barnaby Joyce to India in 2011 to attend the wedding of GVK’s granddaughter.

These are the people deciding how our ever-dwindling Foreign Aid dollars should be spent.

Julie also has a catty streak.

When Julia Gillard did a photo shoot for the Australian Weekend Magazine. Bishop accused her of behaving like a “fashion model or TV star” rather than a politician.

“I don’t think it’s necessary to get dressed up in designer clothing and borrow clothing and make-up to grace the cover of magazines,” Ms Bishop told The Sunday Times. “You’re not a celebrity, you’re an elected representative, you’re a member of parliament. You’re not Hollywood and I think that when people overstep that line they miss the whole point of that public role.”

Ms Bishop said posing for magazine covers was “not my style”, a view that sounded a lot like jealousy since she has subsequently done photo shoots for Who Weekly, The Australian Women’s Weekly, Vogue Australia, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire and Stellar.

“I don’t think we should apologise for our femininity,” she said in the Stellar interview. “I don’t think we should apologise for our interest in fashion. I have always loved fashion and beautiful clothes and magazines and all of that, that doesn’t mean I can’t have a serious career and hold deeply complex, serious conversations about world events with people. To suggest you can’t do both is insulting.”

One former colleague says Bishop is not above using her femininity as an asset. “She can be flirty,” he says. “The persona changes, and the blokes like it. I’ve seen it work. She knows how to use it.”

Julie has made it very clear that she is “not a feminist”, telling Harper’s Bazaar that women should “stop whingeing and just get on with it.”

“Please do not let it get to you and do not become a victim, because it’s only a downward spiral once you’ve cast yourself as a victim,” Bishop told the fashion magazine.

As she teeters around Parliament in her Louboutin stilettos, the 61 year old Foreign Minister says she would “never challenge Malcolm”.

According to Peter Hartcher, the prospect of a Dutton takeover is probably the one scenario that would galvanise Bishop into contesting the leadership. Apparently, Bishop and Dutton loathe each other, but both are unlikely to challenge just yet.

Meanwhile, Julie will continue to grace the red carpet at celebrity events as she travels the world “living the dream.”


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  1. 1petermcc

    You would think the recent brain fades must be concerning to her Party. Those outbursts would suggest she is beyond her peak and if we really want to prepare Oz for the future, putting someone in charge who is glued to the rear view mirror is an especially bad idea.

    I think that means she has every chance of being selected.

  2. Ricardo29

    Not a hypocrite at all

  3. clarelhdm

    And we cannot forget her past performance as Asbestos Julie. If this is the best we’ve got, then god help us!

  4. James

    I think she’s going to get their, I think the feminists groups would support her.

  5. Terry2

    She has the best possible job in politics with all the international travel, clothing allowance and generally just echoing what the USA have to say.

    She would be mad to even consider Liberal leadership at this point in time when the coalition is fracturing and prospects for the nest election are looking decidedly gloomy.

    Stay where you are Julie for as long as you can !

  6. Wayne Turner

    No way – She is suited to hear current position of all style and no substance.Just like her.She was a hopeless Shadow Treasurer.She is like this whole current COALition: She is a lying hypocritical idiot.The MSM are obsessed with who the leader is,when policies and substance of the party is what really matters.The COALition have none.

    What we need is a change of government,to Labor and Bill Shorten.

  7. John O'Callaghan

    Julie Bishop? no comment,she does’nt deserve any!!

  8. Joseph Carli

    God forbid!…Let her be leader of the LNP ..IN OPPOSITION..but for Christ’s sake NOT the leader of the nation!

  9. Aortic

    She has décolletage though.

  10. Kaye Lee

    Trying to think of an acceptable replacement for Malcolm, I come up empty. Simon Birmingham seems the most reasonable but I doubt he has the strength to stand up to the nutters. John Quiggan nailed it IMO in this 2014 article about the intellectual decline of the right.

    “the air of intellectual crisis on the right is palpable. The think tanks have mostly given up the pretence of engaging in serious discussion of ideas…..the Institute of Public Affairs, once a reliable critic of handouts and infrastructure boondoggles, has been reduced to touting Gina Rinehart’s demands for tax subsidies and publicly funded dams in Northern Australia.

    …despite an easy election victory over a divided demoralised Labor Party, Tony Abbott has never succeeded in persuading Australians that he has anything to offer beyond slogans that embody delusions rather than a genuine understanding of our problems. Yet the government remains convinced that it has a popular mandate for policies it never announced during the election campaign.

    Even when their intellectual bankruptcy is obvious, political parties can win elections through emotive appeals, gerrymanders, or simply appearing as the lesser of two evils. So, it seems likely that the intellectual decline of the right will continue a fair way before it becomes obviously untenable.”

    Climate change and the intellectual decline of the right

  11. Zathras

    A Canberra political journalist labelled her as “incredibly stupid” some time ago. It’s not her bad judgement, it’s her failure to comprehend some basic issues.

    She’s a political survivor -called “the cockroach” among her peers for remaining Deputy Leader while each leader is replaced and that’s probably the limit of her ambition and ability.

    I don’t think being PM would suit her habit of quietly attending “official meetings” in Sydney or Melbourne when her AFL home team is playing in those cities. The gaze of the spotlight is only welcome on her own terms.

    Even she knows when she’s on a good thing so why ruin it?

  12. Rob

    Jools for PM, yes it has something. Run it up the flag pole n see who salutes (Gruen -ABC tv) Could borrow johnnie howards coveted Australia tracksuits instead of the black lycra. Get out there with the unwashed masses, ugh (AFP – CPP detail in tow of course.)

    As for JB in the top job. Has anyone in the 4th Estate asked her, again, lately? perhaps an IPA clone / zoid James Patterson, young ideologically suitable to the far right. His mentors ‘ronno’ and mitch, timmie Wilson, simon brehney, chris berg and good ole johhnie roskam. Would the IPA be catatonic if that happened. As a country we would never recover if and a solid IPA type bexame PM. So, Jools it is . Or is it?? ?

  13. Jaquix

    I dont think we need a change of figurehead for the Coalition, we need a whole new election Turnbull still claiming his side is “clean” and threatening to refer the 4 Labor MPs whose renunciations were with the British in time for nomination, but not the confirmation of same. David Marr on Insiders said this morning they could hire a good lawyer for an hour or two to go over the applications and take it from there. Sickening that Barnaby romped home in the face of no viable contender, though the new young Labor guy battled valiantly on and achieved a good swing, getting total of 11.5% of the votes. One small booth actually had him ahead of Barnaby. Good practice for him. Turnbull like a cheshire cat. Meanwhile Bennelong looms. David Marr again: Labor is a Machine ! They have Kristina, a roster of MPS to appear there with her, the Unions and GetUp all on deck. If they cant unseat the insipid Alexander, I dont know what can. The enthusiastic teams of volunteers certainly not matched on the other side. Interesting times. As to Bishop as PM – she would collapse under the weight of everything. Being Minister for Foreign Affairs, Travel and Social Events is perfect for her.

  14. Rob

    I too watched the Insiders. The LNP are a rabble, slow train wreck in motion. Am heartily sick and tired of the mainstream media 10 bells and all is well. Its NOT. We are in this up to our necks. The neo con BS and their lackeys in the media and in various levels of Government. We are is BS land until another Federal Election and we need one real soon.

  15. diannaart

    Timely article, Kaye Lee. We do need to start looking at replacements for Malcolm as distasteful that such consideration is and will continue to be, given the motley crew in the LNP.

    Hoping Dutton and Bishop destroy each other, but that is too much to wish for.

    Julie Bishop for PM? I rather doubt it given her preference for style over substance – not that being 2 dimensional ever stopped a contender from reaching the top job in the past. But, it is sooooo easy to criticise Julie – for someone to have survived for so long, sticking one’s neck out for leadership? For all her legion of faults she is a survivor and will scuttle towards what’s best for Julie every time.

    Which makes sense, the current federal cabinet has to be the most complete collection of self serving creatures ever assembled.

  16. clarelhdm

    I can never forget the most extraordinary, cringeworthy hour of TV I think I ever watched: when Julie Bishop was seated next to Germaine Greer on Q&A. It was clear that Bishop didn’t have a clue about any issues or ideas that Greer raised, and there were exquisite moments when Greer, with a bemused and puzzled look, would cast a glance across at Bishop, somewhat like a teacher who is aware that their student is failing miserably and there is just no time for them to catch up.

  17. helvityni

    NO, No, No, to JB, and a big NO also to PD….

    Old tired tennis players ought to make room for capable young women like Kristina….

    Instead of worrying about Dastiary, the Libs ought to put their own house in order….

  18. diannaart


    I remember that Q&A episode. Loved watching Greer observe the incompetent and brittle Julie Bishop.

  19. Kaye Lee

    Julie is inordinately concerned about her appearance. Who wears stilettos and huge dangly earrings to work? Her politics is the same. She is more worried about how things look than about coming up with decent policies. Come to think of it, most politicians are.

    I had a really funny experience when Julie and I happened to be staying at the same hotel. As I was sitting in the club room sipping champagne and bemoaning Australian politics with my girlfriends, they started giggling and nudging each other. Who should be behind me but Jules. The next morning when we hopped in the lift to go to breakfast, there was Jules in a dressing gown and slippers with bed hair, no make-up, and glasses with thick black rims. She avoided all eye contact by facing the door and looking up at the floor numbers as we suppressed an almost overwhelming urge to ask for a selfie. She got off on the “beauty” floor.

  20. David Evans

    Do they ever drug test “politicians? ‘This Pest From The West’ is probably doing asbestos she can, but definitely not Goodenough. As far as her chances go, She has apparently ‘blown’ far too many chancers, but with her Julie Gillard and AWU bullshit theories, she really Blewitt then. And of course, why should she hurry up just because her side of politics is dying?

  21. Kaye Lee

    Very clever David

  22. diannaart

    Kaye Lee

    Good that I was not present, would’ve been falling about the lift laughing – no security in case of unruly mirthful public?

    Many years ago I walked straight into Jeff Kennett, literally – before he was Vic State Premier. He was preparing for his first stab at the leadership, I was in a foul mood, walked straight out of an arcade on Bourke Street, slammed into this tall man, looked up and there it was looking utterly horrified at me, my all black ensemble of jeans, biker’s jacket and Doc’s. He was with wife and a couple of body guards (and this was only the 1980’s) who actually started moving towards me (must’ve looked dangerous). I guess my expression and Jeff’s did not bode well, had enough sense to dodge around him – yes, I had to be the one to make way for Jeff, he just stood there expecting his body guards to take me out. I got away and Kennett did not win that year.

  23. Kaye Lee


    My g/f’s kept poking me and smirking….we let out the loudest guffaw after she got out. And no security…she was alone. I don’t think she wanted anyone to see her at that hour. Too funny.

  24. diannaart

    Always remember those occasions of releasing the pent up laugh. Very cathartic and you can recall this memory whenever you see/hear JB.

  25. Jai Ritter

    F*ck no! Julie is the one to watch though, she’ll be the one with the hand in the pocket of the next liberal leader.

  26. Rowan Holgate

    Not a leader’s ‘bootlace!’ A natural echo chamber.

  27. Glenn Barry

    I think the nickname Jewellery Bishop is insightful, she is the human equivalent of snack food – 70% air and no nutritional value.

    Robin Williams in Mork and Mindy gave Morgan Fairchild a gift which suited her personality, a saucer, because it was shallow.
    A saucer would be the perfect gift for Jewellery Bishop also, because she already possesses an abundance of earrings, or perhaps some Wiltshire Staysharp knives so that she has something always sharp close to hand at a moments notice

  28. Zathras

    Julie Bishop’s married name was Julia Gillon and after the nasty character assassination job she and her party did on Julia Gillard I can see why she changed it.
    Considering that she is also “deliberately barren” and “living in sin” there may have been some confusion between the two.

  29. Kaye Lee

    I wonder how Julie Bishop felt as she mutely sat by while members of her party said things like:

    “I mean anyone who chooses to remain deliberately barren… they’ve got no idea what life’s about.” Senator Bill Heffernan. The Bulletin. May 2007

    “You won’t need his (PM Kevin Rudd) taxpayer-funded nanny, will you?” Sophie Mirabella. Parliament. May 2008

    “She has chosen not to be a parent… she is very much a one-dimensional person… she just doesn’t understand the way parents think about their children when they reach a particular age.” Senator George Brandis. ABC Radio. January 2010

  30. doctortrish47

    Let her run. Australian politics will do to her what it does to women from whatever party – crucify her! Why do you think she hasn’t challenged before? She knows which side her bread is buttered. She’s a bitch, but a smart bitch. Oh….and isn’t she barren?

  31. Shutterbug

    If it’s a nickname you want for JB, I rather like Ghoulie Bishop. It suits her.

    Regarding who will replace Truffles, there is no way in Hades it will be Ghoulie.
    Far too many god-botherers in her party who think a woman’s place is in the kitchen. She doesn’t stand a, well, a snowflake’s chance in Hell. The very same Hell the RWNJ’s who are yanking Truffles chain believe in implicitly.

  32. Glenn Barry

    OOH, Shutterbug – Ghoulie Bishop is on par with The Princess Mesothelioma – both winners

  33. John

    Lets see is Julie Bishop PM material? She loves to spend the public purse, she has survived a few PMs as deputy, she doesnt mind causing controversy with other countries for her own interests and she is deputy to the most incompetent governments in Australian history. So the answer is a big fat no!

  34. Glenn Barry

    From another perspective I don’t think The Princess Mesothelioma, Miss Ghoulie Bishop is available to be the Prime Minister of Australia as it would conflict with her current role as foreign spokesperson for the Trump administration on all matters North Korean

  35. Hefina

    For god sake “NO SHE IS NOT,”she should own up to receiving $500,000 from the Chinese ,she is the one that should be kicked out not Sam ,

    Turnbull is demanding Bill Shorten to sack Sam , NO,TURNBULL YOU SACK Bishop ,and while you are at it sack Cash too. Money spenders,

    When is Kathy Jackson going to face her maker ,birds of a feather flock together.

  36. Bill Morris

    Bishop only ever reverberates Liberal policy and “the Alliance”. Her personal opinions are confined to Versace or Prada, never Neo- Capitalism or how to lower house prices. She’s all tit and no iceberg.

  37. Harquebus

    Anyone who advocates perpetual economic growth, the main cause of our problems, as the solution is a moron and not worthy of being a representative let alone a leader.

  38. Kaye Lee


    STOP IT. That is completely irrelevant to the article and you know how much you piss me off by highjacking EVERY single thread to your very very narrow field of interest. STOP IT.

  39. Harquebus

    Kaye Lee
    I disagree. Governments all over the world along with their ignorant leaders are failing to deliver because of exactly what I stated however, I will comply.

  40. Kaye Lee


    re Kathy Jackson…..

    The parties are due to return to court on December 15 for a further directions hearing but she appears unlikely to face a jury until 2019.

    I wonder how Craig Thomson is feeling – or Michael Williamson for that matter. Why is it taking so long?

  41. Max Gross (@Max_Gross)

    As vacuous as she is, Jewelry Bishit has one thing going for her: she is a survivor, cannily standing behind every LNP leader she ever helped overthrow

  42. Vincent

    Julie Bishop has no desire to be a PM, she is content to enjoy the position along with any other perks, and as little effort as possible. It has been mentioned already that she has never been too far from the former leaders. On TV one day I saw John Howard with Julie Bishop roll up at a school one morning, media ready, but the headmaster with a teacher did not know what was happening or anything else of it and Julie Bishop puffed up, in a haughty fashion, jumped in front of the headmaster and asked ” Who didn’t tell you we were coming? ” Rich, try to answer that one. She has never disappointed me after that.

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