Julie Isabel Bishop (17 July 1956) is a former Australian politician who served as the Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2013 to 2018 and as the Liberal Party’s deputy leader from 2007 to 2018. From 1998 to 2019, she served as the Member of Parliament for Curtin.
Bishop grew up in Lobethal, South Australia, and went to the University of Adelaide to study law. She served as a commercial lawyer in Perth, Western Australia, before entering politics, and was the local managing partner of Clayton Utz. She was also a delegate to the 1998 constitutional conference, a director of the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), and a senator for Murdoch University.
Bishop was elected deputy leader of the Liberal Party after the Coalition lost the 2007 election. She became the first woman to hold the position, and after her initial election, she was re-elected in multiple leadership spills. She was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Abbott Government after the Coalition reclaimed power in the 2013 election. She was the first female foreign minister of Australia. Following Bishop’s appointment as Minister for Foreign Affairs, one of her first acts was restructuring Australia’s foreign aid program. The reforms included abolishing the Australian foreign aid agency, AusAID, and other significant budget cuts.
As the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar deteriorated into ethnic cleansing, Bishop stated that Australia was deeply worried about the rising violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State and will contribute up to A$5 million in relief to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. She was also involved in high-level negotiations with the Indonesian government to try to save the lives of convicted drug traffickers Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan. Bishop was generally praised for how she conducted negotiations, demonstrating Australia’s opposition to the death penalty.
Bishop has received several laurels in her career, including Commander of the Order of Merit, Ministry of Foreign Affairs in September 2014 and US Mission Award for Leadership Excellence, United States Mission, Australia in October 2018.
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