JOURNALIST: What do you think about any pre-selected candidates for your seat in Curtin? Is there anyone you’d like to see?
JULIE BISHOP: It’s a matter for the pre-selectors. People join the Liberal Party as members so that they can have an opportunity to pre-select the person that they think would best represent them in the federal Parliament. So it’s always been my belief that this should be left to the pre-selectors and it’s not for sitting members of Parliament to dictate to the members of the party how they should vote.
JOURNALIST: There’s been a lot of interesting comments about you, that you could have beaten Bill Shorten. Do you stand by your comments there?
JULIE BISHOP: Of course. No one would stand for the leadership of their party if they thought they couldn’t beat the Opposition. I assume that Peter Dutton believed he could beat Bill Shorten. Why else would he have stood? I’m assuming that Scott Morrison believed he should be able to beat Bill Shorten, else why would you stand? You don’t stand to lose to your opposition. Now, I respect the party’s vote on the matter and I’m happy to move on. But it’s self-evident that you wouldn’t put your hand up if you didn’t think that you had a chance to win.
JOURNALIST: There’s been a lot of talk today about whether we do need quotas for women in the party and in politics. What do you think on the matter?
JULIE BISHOP: I’m very comfortable with targets. I have seen it work. We certainly did it within the public service and the board appointments for women as I said in my speech, so I think targets, properly implemented, can work exceedingly well. The trouble with quotas is you’re mandating that a woman must be pre-selected irrespective of merit and I don’t think any woman wants to be in a position where she’s been selected or appointed just because she’s a woman.
JOURNALIST: Have you been speaking with any of the candidates to replace you in Curtin?
JULIE BISHOP: Yes. They’ve all contacted me. Every one of them has contacted me, so I’ve been delighted by the number of women. There are four women and one man, and I have no doubt that our pre-selectors will choose the person best suited to be the member for Curtin. I’ve been honoured to be the member for Curtin for 20 years now and I’m certainly looking forward to supporting whomever the pre-selectors choose to represent them.
JOURNALIST: Ms Bishop, your interview at the weekend caused quite a stir amongst your colleagues. Do you regret making those comments?
JULIE BISHOP: Of course not. Why would I cause a stir? Surely any person who stands for election to lead their party must believe that they could win an election, otherwise you wouldn’t stand. I mean, presumably Peter Dutton thought he could win against Bill Shorten, otherwise he wouldn’t have stood. So I think it’s so self-evident that I can’t imagine why anybody’s questioning that. And as I’ve said, I am confident that Scott Morrison will win the next election.
JOURNALIST: Have you heard the comments from Warren Entsch saying that he regrets supporting you in the leadership spill?
JULIE BISHOP: I had no idea that he did, so that’s exciting. I had no idea that he did. That’s not my understanding.
JOURNALIST: In your seat of Curtin [indistinct] same sex plebiscite. Will your replacement reflect that?
JULIE BISHOP: My electorate …(indistinct]
JOURNALIST: Are you concerned one of the candidates described herself as a non-Liberal voter?
JULIE BISHOP: That’s a matter for the pre-selectors. I think it’s most unfortunate if people try and force through the media pressure on the pre-selectors as to how they should vote. In this day and age, surely people are able to make up their own mind about who they want to represent them. And that’s always been my position, that I don’t force on the members of my party in the Curtin electorate and my views. It’s up to them to decide who they think is best suited to represent them.