The Hon. Julie Bishop
Member for Curtin (WA)
The longest serving member for Curtin, Julie Bishop entered Parliament with an ‘intense conviction that individuals can make a difference to the life of their times’. During her 21 year term, the former commercial litigator achieved many firsts including becoming the first female deputy leader of the Liberal Party—a position she held for 11 years—and Australia’s first female minister for foreign affairs. She also served as Minister for Education, Science and Training and Minister for Aging in the Howard government.
Bishop described representing Australia on the world stage as ‘a particular privilege’ and as foreign minster oversaw a significant expansion of Australia's diplomatic presence. This included greater engagement with Pacific Island countries and introduction of a scholarship program for Australian students to study and intern in the Indo-Pacific region, the New Colombo Plan.
Under Bishop, Australia’s aid budget placed ‘increasing emphasis on the economic empowerment of women’ and girls. She introduced tough laws to combat the sexual exploitation of children overseas, which banned sex offenders from leaving Australia.
For Bishop the ‘barbaric’ downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over rebel-controlled eastern Ukraine in 2014, with the loss of all 298 people on board including 38 Australians, was ‘the most emotional moment of my life’. She played a pivotal role in the drafting and adoption of a UN resolution which successfully called for international investigators to have access to the crash site, for which she was awarded the Commander of the Order of Merit of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.