Former foreign minister Julie Bishop has not ruled out vying for the Liberal leadership again in the future.
The long-standing deputy Liberal leader has announced she will remain in Parliament as the Member for Curtin and pointedly refused to rule out returning to a senior position or even the leadership.
“It’s far too early for me to even contemplate what I might do,” Ms Bishop said in Canberra on Tuesday.
“But I will certainly have plenty of time to consider my options and reflect on what has been an extraordinary time.”
In a surprising twist to last week’s leadership crisis, Ms Bishop has bucked widespread speculation she would immediately leave Parliament, “as I have the overwhelming support of my constituents”.
“I’m optimistic about my future, whatever it may hold,” she said.
The 62-year-old launched a failed bid to replace Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister on Friday. She was knocked out in the first round of voting for the Liberal leadership.
She quit as foreign minister on Sunday after five years in the job, and more than a decade as the Liberals’ deputy leader.
Ms Bishop said she wanted her successor, Marise Payne, to pursue justice for the families of the 38 Australians killed when Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine.
“It was the most emotional moment of my life,” she said.
“I want to ensure that the people for whom we fought do get justice.”
On foreign affairs, Ms Bishop urged Australia to devote a significant part of the country’s aid budget to the Pacific.
“I believe every dollar of foreign aid invested wisely, effectively and efficiently is of benefit to our nation” she said.
She also nominated fighting protectionism, pushing for a strong and prosperous Indo-Pacific region and promoting the rules-based international order among the nation’s other priorities.
Ms Bishop warned against following the lead of some of her conservative colleagues, who want Australia to abandon its Paris Agreement climate change targets.
“Australia has a very high standing as a nation that keeps its commitments and is part of the overall global effort for better outcomes for the world,” she said.
“When we sign a treaty, partners should be able to rely upon us. If we have doubts about it, we should have reservations, and that’s the way smart politicians would operate.”
The decision not to leave immediately will be a welcome one for the embattled Coalition, which faces the prospect of a by-election in Mr Turnbull’s seat of Wentworth after the former prime minister revealed plans to resign on Monday night.
Referring to new Prime Minister Scott Morrison and deputy Josh Frydenberg as “ScoMo and Joshy”, Ms Bishop wished the new Liberal leadership every success.
Ms Bishop declined to answer questions about last week’s leadership spill, in which she finished third in a three-candidate race in a party-room ballot that also included Peter Dutton.
“I want to move on from the events of last week,” she said.
“I don’t think that it is going to assist the new government if I pontificate on those issues.”
But, queried about the prospect of the Liberal Party eventually electing a popular female leader, Ms Bishop took a thinly-veiled swipe at her colleagues.
“Well, when we find one, I’m sure we will,” she said.