Australia’s most senior female Liberal politician, Julie Bishop, will exit politics at the next election.
Her decision to quit polítics, which she repeatedly denied over a summer in which she literally jumped ship during the Sydney to Hobart yacht race, had long been expected.
But it still delivers another blow to Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s re-election hopes – and for the Liberal Party’s coffers as Ms Bishop was one of its best-performing fundraisers.
Ms Bishop insisted that she expected the Coalition would still win the next election, predicting Labor had learned nothing from its mistakes.
“It is thus my view that the Liberal-National coalition will win the next election,” she said.
“And that the government will be returned to office because it is focusing on the [things that] matter to the Australian people.
“On that basis, I have reconsidered my position as the Member for Curtin. I have been contacted by a number of talented, indeed extraordinary, people, including women, who have indicated to me that should I not reconsider the seat of Curtin, they would seek preselection from the Curtin division of the Liberal Party for that seat.
“Accordingly, I will not recontest the seat of Curtin at the next election.”
Ms Bishop, who was rejected by her colleagues as a candidate for the leadership, said it has been an honour to serve as the longest-serving member for Curtin. She was first elected in October 1998.
She quit the frontbench in the wake of her failed leadership tilt in August after Malcolm Turnbull resigned, and stood down as deputy.
“And also to be the deputy leader of the Liberal Party. The first female to hold the role for 11 years, over half my entire political career,” she said.
“I am also proud of the fact that I am the first woman to contest the leadership ballot of the Liberal Party in its 75-year history.
“It has also been an immense honour to serve in cabinet, first as the minister for education, science and training and women’s issues, and then as the minister for foreign affairs. Australia’s first female foreign minister. And I am so very proud that my successor, Senator Marise Payne, will be, and is, the second female Foreign Minister of Australia.
“I thank and acknowledge the prime ministers in whose cabinets I served: John Howard, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull.
“I will not recontest the seat of Curtin at the next election,” she said.