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Bishop rules herself out of SA Governor role

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SA Governor Hieu Van Le appears set to continue in the role beyond this year, with former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop ruling herself out of the job.

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The Marshall Government has not confirmed whether or not an offer was made to Bishop after she retreated to the backbench in the wake of last year’s Liberal leadership coup.

The Australian this morning reported Bishop, who hails from Adelaide, had been approached about taking over the role, with convention dictating that the incumbent steps down after five years.

However, Bishop told the paper: “I have had numerous offers, but as I have said for months I am not seeking a government job.”

Her sister, Walkerville councillor MaryLou Bishop, poured fuel on the fire this morning when she told ABC Radio the role “was spoken about, probably about last September”.

“Julie and Steven [Marshall] get on really, really well… they started to think ‘she’s not going to stand again’ and started putting out feelers and right from the word go she said ‘I do not want the job’,” she said.

“I would have loved her to have been governor. She would have done an amazing job. However, I know why she said ‘no’, I understand completely.

“She would have been, in another word, a public servant. It might be a glamorous public servant, but nevertheless you are answerable to the government of the day… she wants to prove herself in the free market, in private enterprise.

“Let her fly, let her do what she has to do, let’s put another governor in place, whatever, and perhaps come back to her in 10 years’ time when she’s in her 70s. She’s amazingly fit, she doesn’t look her age.”

However, when contacted by InDaily MaryLou Bishop said her sister was never offered the role and she did not know what conversations she had had about it.

“Julie didn’t discuss it with me,” she said.

“It was just my opinion.”

She said her previous comments on the matter on ABC were “incorrect”.

“I said the incorrect thing – I realise how it’s been interpreted,” she said.

Another name mooted for the gig on FIVEaa was former Police Commissioner Mal Hyde, however he told InDaily he had “not been approached” and had no further comment to make.

A State Government spokesperson did not respond directly to questions about whether Marshall had approached Bishop or offered her the post, but said: “There’s no doubt Julie Bishop is a great South Australian, but His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le is doing a fantastic job in this important and prestigious role and is well respected across our state and by this government.”

“This is a vice regal matter which will be dealt with through the appropriate channels.”

A source told InDaily Bishop had “always been in the mix” of contenders, but that “unless there was a really compelling alternative, if the current governor was happy to continue on, that’s quite appealing”.

Given his five-year stint would finish in October, and with no clear replacement yet announced, it seems likely that is what will transpire.

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