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Julie Bishop quits politics

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Julie Bishop says it was an “immense honour” to serve as Australia’s first woman foreign minister, as she announced her retirement from federal parliament at the next election.

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The former deputy Liberal leader announced her long-rumoured decision after question time in Canberra today.

“I will not recontest the seat of Curtin at the next election,” she said, declaring she believed the government would win the coming poll.

Bishop said a number of “extraordinarily talented” people, including women, had contacted her about running in the West Australian seat if she decided to stand down.

“I will work hard in the meantime to assist a new Liberal candidate to win the seat,” she said.

“It is time for a new member to take my place.”

She thanked the prime ministers who chose her to serve as a minister – John Howard, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull.

Bishop has been an MP since 1998, and was Australia’s first female foreign minister and deputy Liberal leader.

Bishop’s political future has been under question since she decided against remaining in cabinet after Malcolm Turnbull resigned as prime minister in August 2018.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison referred to a Bible verse when he thanked Bishop for her 21 years in parliament and her devotion to the Liberal party.

“‘Well done good and faithful servant’ … this is a phrase that speaks very much to the member for Curtin,” Morrison told parliament.

“Her successor will have big shoes to fill and we all know Julie has the best shoes in the parliament.”

Morrison praised her efforts in dealing with Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 disaster in 2014, when 38 Australians were killed.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Bishop had been a “trailblazer” in her roles in foreign affairs and as deputy Liberal leader.

He also thanked her for the way she fought for the families of the MH17 victims on the world stage.

“She did Australia proud that day and in those weeks,” Shorten said.

He said he hoped to see her stay in public life.

Bishop’s successor as foreign minister, Marise Payne, choked back tears as she said Australia should be proud of its high status in the international community

“It is in no small measure attributable to her leadership, her drive, and her commitment as Australia’s foreign minister for five years that that is the case,” Payne told a Senate estimates hearing.

“Many have contributed in the past, but in recent times, her personal leadership has made an enormous contribution to that standing.”

– AAP

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