JACINTA PARSONS:  Good morning Julie.

JULIE BISHOP:           Good morning Jacinta, good morning Mick, and the crowd there. It sounds very excitable in the Pullman today.   

JACINTA PARSONS:  Now, we’ve decided to lay down any serious conversations around politics, we are not going to be talking about gender equity or fractured Liberal parties or anything like that. Today we are going to welcome you as the football fan that you are. You are the Number 1 ticket holder for West Coast?

JULIE BISHOP:           That’s right. I have been involved with the Club in one way or another for many years, in fact, since its beginning in the late 1980s. I have been on the board, between 2008 and 2013, and now I am very proud to be the Number 1 ticket holder and cannot wait to get on a plane this morning and head to Melbourne so I can be at the MCG to cheer on the team tomorrow. Hopefully for our fourth Grand Final win.

MICK MALTHOUSE:  Dinner tonight Julie?

JULIE BISHOP:           Yes, I will see you tonight Mick, I hope.  

MICK MALTHOUSE:  Yes, we will indeed. It’s a tradition now. One of the things that has always intrigued me, and I was lucky enough to work for ABC over at the game where I saw you release that great, beautiful eagle, so any tips on how that went over the last few years? Any stories you want to share?  

JULIE BISHOP:           Well, actually, I should tell you about the incident at the Qualifying Final the other week in Perth. I was asked to climb up on the stand, a few metres out to the cage where Auzzie Eagle sits, and release him for the crowds. It was all on the screens and the crowd was watching, and I was wearing a coat that had a fur collar. So I get up to the top and I am about to open the hatch to let Auzzie out and the handler screams “Julie, take your coat off!”, and I looked at her and she is saying “take it off”, and in front of the crowd I strip off the jacket and everybody starts cheering and carrying on and I threw it down and released the Eagle. And she said afterwards that Auzzie was hungry and she thought that if he came out and saw my fur collar he would think it was a rabbit and savage me. So, that was an incident that I am glad I escaped, being savaged by Auzzie Eagle. But, it is a wonderful sight seeing that eagle swoop around Optus Stadium and it really gets the massive Eagles crowd in the right space and starts them cheering very early on. And as you know Mick, we are quite a strong and vocal hometown crowd.   

MICK MALTHOUSE:  Julie, have you been to all of the Grand Finals that the Eagles have played in?

JULIE BISHOP:           No, I was at the 2015 and the 2006 and the 1991. So, I have been to three, this will be my fourth Grand Final. I missed your two magnificent years, ’92 and ’94, Mick, sorry about that. I don’t know where I could have been. I would have been watching somewhere and barracking for the team. But I have been to three and they have all been amazing in their own way. 2015 we won’t talk about so much, but 2006 was a fantastic game against the Swans which we won by a point.

JACINTA PARSONS:  How much time do you have to follow the footy? 

JULIE BISHOP:           Well, wherever I am I always follow the game on Twitter or if I can get access to a TV I will do it. When I was Foreign Minister it didn’t matter where I was around the world, I would always try to find some means of following the game. I love it. I follow it passionately and I remember once when we were over at the United Nations, being able to get access to it online and we had a whole group of Australians suddenly appear out of nowhere to watch the game. It is a great passion of mine and I love it.

JACINTA PARSONS: We are joined here as well, Julie Bishop, by Catherine Murphy, an ABC sports reporter.

CATHERINE MURPHY: Julie, I have a question to ask you. I read in a Western Australian publication, and you can’t always believe what you read in the newspapers, I know this, that you have promised to dance, potentially on furniture, if West Coast win. I just want to check if this is true?

JULIE BISHOP:           The West Australian newspaper has been giving the Eagles brilliant coverage all week and there is even an article in the paper this morning, Mick, that says that you have tipped the Eagles, but we will go back to that later. Anyway, I did say to Steve Butler, one of the journalists at the West, that if the Eagles won I would be dancing, and he said, “even on the chairs?” and I said “even on the chairs”. I think that that is against the rules at the MCG but nevertheless there will be huge scenes of jubilation should the Eagles take out their fourth Grand Final win.

MICK MALTHOUSE:  Yes, I don’t think it is going to matter who wins, there is going to be people dancing, wherever. Last year, Richmond, they danced for a number of days right up and down the streets not far from my place, so it was very hard to drive the car and get around. Julie, where do you think the West Coast can win it?

JULIE BISHOP:           I think when Darling and Kennedy are firing we are unstoppable. We saw that in the Qualifying Final and then when you think about the game we played against Collingwood, I think it was Round 17, when we won by about 35 points, it was Darling, Kennedy and Rioli all booting about three goals each and that really made the difference. So, I think that that is going to be a focus for us and I am tipping Jack Darling to have an absolute ripper of a day.

CATHERINE MURPHY: Julie, you’ve been involved with West Coast right from the start. I believe you were on the legal team that drew up the papers, you’ve been on the Board, now you’re the Number 1 ticket holder, you have a very stressful job, has sport and West Coast been a great release from that?

JULIE BISHOP:           It is an absolutely amazing Club and I have loved being involved with the Club and the story of the West Coast Eagles, how we entered the national competition, the challenges that we’ve faced, is quite inspiring. It is also fascinating to be involved with elite sport at this level and I have loved being on the Board and being involved with the Club, but I have been a follower of Australian Rules Football all my life. I grew up in South Australia and my dad was a big North Adelaide fan, so I followed North Adelaide. My Victorian team, because everybody in South Australia had to have a Victorian team, was Geelong, and then when I came over to Perth I had to start afresh. Of course, the Eagles then was established in 1987, and so that became my team. Yes, it is a wonderful focus for me and as I said, wherever I am I try to follow the Eagles games. The Club has enormous support here in Western Australia, but of course, Australia. I was always pleased, when we’d come over to Melbourne when I was on the Board, to find Eagles fans actually resident in Melbourne. That was quite a surprise to me. So, we’ve got a following right across the country.

JACINTA PARSONS: Julie Bishop, thank you very much for joining us this morning. Good luck for the game tomorrow. We appreciate you spending some time with us this morning.

JULIE BISHOP:           Go Eagles!

– Ends –

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