Julie Bishop received just 11 votes when she stepped in to a three-way race for the leadership of the Liberal party just over a year ago, behind Peter Dutton and Scott Morrison.
But the man she would have been replacing — Malcolm Turnbull — has declared he would have welcomed a Julie Bishop PM.
“Yes I certainly would have welcomed that,” he is quoted as saying in today’s edition of The Australian, his first major interview since the 2019 Federal election.
“She certainly had the capacity to lead the party… She is eloquent, she is persuasive, she is incredibly hard-working and I could not have asked for a more loyal or capable deputy.”
But it was never to be, despite Bishop being the most experienced person for the job. She’d served as deputy to four male leaders, including Turnbull, over an 11 year period, having first entered Parliament in 1998. She’d spent five years as Foreign Minister and was well known as a popular representative and effective party fundraiser.
Turnbull also used the interview to lament climate change denialism and inaction — noting there is nothing conservative about denying the science of climate change and that doing so is just “denying reality”.
He said his biggest regret as Prime Minister was failing to settle on a new national energy policy and lamented a new brand of “conservative” that involves people who “would be better off described as reactionaries or populists.”
Bishop revealed earlier this year that she had “commitments” from a number of people and had expected to achieve more than the 11 votes she ended up with when entering the leadership contest that ultimately saw Scott Morrison elevated to PM.
She said that without Malcolm Turnbull as leader, she no longer wanted to stay on as in the portfolio she had relished.
“I didn’t want to endorse what had happened and by continuing to accept what had happened I would have been endorsing it,” she told The Sunday Times.
“And also, there had to be a level of trust with your Cabinet colleagues and I thought that had broken down and it would be better for them to have a new team and for me to step back.”
Today I announced that I will not re-contest the seat of #Curtin at the next election. It’s been an honour to serve as the member for Curtin, Foreign Minister of Australia & Deputy Leader of @LiberalAus pic.twitter.com/Vqai7ht03K
— Julie Bishop (@HonJulieBishop) February 21, 2019
Bishop’s post political career has seen her take on numerous speaking gigs, as well as joining the board of aid contractor, the Palladium Group