Julie Bishop is the Minister for Foreign Affairs in Australia’s Federal Coalition Government. She is also the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party and has served as the Member for Curtin in the House of Representatives since 1998.
Julie was sworn in as Australia’s first female Foreign Minister on 18 September 2013 following four years in the role of Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade.
As Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie has overseen the single largest expansion of Australia’s overseas diplomatic presence in 40 years, introduced the New Colombo Plan to support Australian undergraduate students to study and undertake internships in the Indo-Pacific region, and established the innovationXchange within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to develop bold and creative solutions to long standing development challenges.
She has strengthened Australia’s key strategic and economic relationships and enhanced Australia’s engagement with Pacific Island countries, including normalising relations with Fiji, leading international recovery and reconstruction efforts in Vanuatu and establishing a school of government in Papua New Guinea.
Julie promoted Australia’s interests at the United Nations Security Council, playing a lead role in the international response to the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine.
She previously served as a Cabinet Minister in the Howard Government as Minister for Education, Science and Training and as the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women’s Issues. Prior to this, Julie was Minister for Ageing.
Julie has also served on a number of parliamentary and policy committees including as Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties.
Born and educated in South Australia, Julie graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from Adelaide University in 1978, before practising law at an Adelaide law firm and becoming a partner at the age of 26.
In 1983, Julie moved to Perth and practised as a commercial litigation lawyer at Clayton Utz, becoming a partner in 1985 and managing partner in 1994. She attended Harvard Business School in Boston in 1996, completing the Advanced Management Program for Senior Managers.
In 1998, Julie was endorsed as the Liberal candidate for the seat of Curtin and won the seat in the General Election held in October 1998.
Prior to entering Parliament, Julie held a number of positions including as Chair of the Western Australia Town Planning Appeals Tribunal; a member of the Murdoch University Senate; the board of the Anglican Schools Commission, a director of SBS (TV and Radio) and a board member of the Committee for Economic Development Australia (CEDA WA).
Julie was also Ambassador of the Muscular Dystrophy Association in WA, on the Council of Governors of the Lions Ear and Hearing Institute, a patron of CanTeen and vice patron of Westcare Incorporated. She was inducted into the inaugural WA Women Hall of Fame in 2011.
Julie remains a patron and member of many business, cultural and sporting organisations in her electorate. In her spare time, Julie is a keen runner and takes part in the annual Perth City to Surf fun run. She is an avid West Coast Eagles fan and a former director of the Club.