26 September 2018
TIM MCMILLAN: Julie Bishop joins us on the program. Good morning Julie.
JULIE BISHOP: Good morning Tim and what a great week it is in the lead up to the Grand Final.
TIM MCMILLAN: Yes, a few more sleeps to go. I do want to speak to you about a couple of other issues as well but let’s get to the most important issue at the moment, Julie, the Grand Final. You are the Eagles Number 1 ticket holder. Can I ask do they look after your getting over there and a decent seat at the MCG?
JULIE BISHOP: Yes, I am going over with the Eagles team for the Grand Final. I am really looking forward to it. This will be the fifth Eagles Grand Final that I have attended so I am looking forward to a great game and hopefully a great win on the part of the Eagles. I think Western Australia will erupt with delight if they are able to pull it off. I know it is a big challenge, the MCG, against Collingwood, but they have been in great form and that game against Melbourne and also the previous game against Collingwood really give us hope that they are going to pull it off.
TIM MCMILLAN: I like your optimism and I know that some journos are probably going to put in a Freedom of Information request to see who is paying for your flights over there. So let’s just circumvent that right now.
JULIE BISHOP: Getting there under my own steam. I think we can just be happy in the knowledge that I am going to be at the Eagles Grand Final and I am really looking forward to it, I am going over with the Eagles.
TIM MCMILLAN: You are actually on the plane with the players and the staff?
JULIE BISHOP: No, I am going over on the Friday. There are two groups going, on the Thursday and the Friday. I am going on the Friday.
TIM MCMILLAN: Fantastic. Where do you get to enjoy the game from?
JULIE BISHOP: From the MCG, I will have a seat there. I am looking forward to it. I think it is going to be great. I was at the game in 2015 which wasn’t as –
TIM MCMILLAN: Didn’t quite go to plan.
JULIE BISHOP: It didn’t quite go to plan – wasn’t great but the experience was wonderful and the team is better prepared for Saturday. I think that 2015 Grand Final result against Hawthorn was a real learning experience. Twelve of the boys played in that Grand Final and while we have got 10 new faces. They can certainly lean on the senior ones in their preparation for this huge game.
TIM MCMILLAN: As the Number 1 ticket holder, Julie, do you actually have any official duties on the day or just to be there and show your support?
JULIE BISHOP: Just to be there, I don’t have to make speeches or anything like that.
TIM MCMILLAN: Yep.
JULIE BISHOP: I am just there as part of the support for the team along with thousands and thousands of other fans. It is wonderful that so many people are making the journey across the Nullarbor to the MCG and there are a number of supporters of the Eagles in Victoria. I was on the Board of the Eagles for about five years and I was always delighted to learn how many supporters we had on the east coast. There is a very strong group of Eagles supporters in Melbourne for a start, and then add the West Coast fans and we will have quite a crowd there at the MCG.
TIM MCMILLAN: It will be party time for West Aussies in Victoria come Saturday night, should they win of course, and let’s hope they do. Look, all the best for Saturday. Let’s move on to other matters Julie. Look, it was only a matter of weeks ago that you were jet setting the world, representing Australia on the world’s stage as our Foreign Minister. We of course had that period of chaos in Canberra. You are no longer in that position of course. How are you going with the transition with the change of pace?
JULIE BISHOP: Exceedingly well. I chose not to continue as Foreign Minister and I resigned as the Deputy Leader and I think in the circumstances that was appropriate, but of course, I continue as the Member for Curtin. I am here in Perth at present, it is very busy. I am out and about in my electorate; there is always plenty to do and I am very comfortable with the decisions I had to make in those rather challenging circumstances.
TIM MCMILLAN: I imagine that it has been a while given that the prominence of your roles in Cabinet over some years now, it has probably been a while since you have been able to spend so much time actually in your electorate engaging with your constituents. How has that been?
JULIE BISHOP: I have always focussed my efforts on my electorate. The people of Curtin are of course those who elect me and it is their concerns and their interests that I represent in Canberra and I have never lost sight of that. It is wonderful to have more time to spend here because of course I don’t have the responsibilities as Foreign Minister which did take me overseas a great deal of the time. I always managed to spend a lot of time in Perth when I could. It is where I live, it is where I like hanging out, going running on Cottesloe beach, shopping in Claremont, hanging out in Subiaco, it is a wonderful part of the world.
TIM MCMILLAN: Now that the toilets have gone off Cottesloe Beach in particular.JULIE BISHOP: Yes, that was a very important strike for common sense wasn’t it?
TIM MCMILLAN: It certainly was. Now that the dust has settled somewhat after the leadership change in Canberra, your reflections on how that transpired, obviously well known that you put your hand up for that gig as well, how have you been able to process the way that all panned out for you personally?
JULIE BISHOP: I am very comfortable with the decisions I had to make and I am getting on with being the local member, as I have been for 20 years. I am obviously considering my future but in the meantime I am very happy doing what I am doing and I am certainly looking forward to being part of the Eagles Grand Final. All those issues that really mean a lot to me I can focus some time on, it is fine. Of course, upheaval always brings change but I am transitioning very well I think.
It has been 16 years since I have been a backbencher. I have been a Minister and Shadow Ministers for almost 16 years and DeputyL for 11 years and that brings particular responsibilities. Now that has changed, I am moving on.
TIM MCMILLAN: Just in the last few days, Julie, you’ve had a bit to say about the state of politics in this country, about the level of representation in politics and across the corporate sector more widely, about the number of women involved at a senior level. You have of course have often been the only woman in the room in some of these high powered scenarios in your capacity as a senior member of government Cabinet, and you have spoken a bit about the degree of disenfranchisement in the community, what is the answer? I know it is all well and good to say we need more women in there but are you supporting a quota per say?
JULIE BISHOP: Not a quota as such but I certainly believe in institutionalised targets and I implemented this when I was Foreign Minister as part of our aid program. We focused very heavily on the empowerment of women, to encourage more women across the Indo-Pacific region to be leaders in government, in communities and in society generally. It is an approach I have taken for quite some time and I think it equally applies to Australia, as it does to countries overseas where I was making the point and that is: I don’t think any nation will reach its potential until it harnesses and fully engages with the skills and talent and the abilities and ideas of the 50 or 51 per cent of the population that is female. That goes for the Federal Parliament as well. Women make up over 50 per cent of our population. It is a sensible thing to ensure that their voice is heard in the Parliament. It is not just the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.
I think targets are an appropriate mechanism to ensure we have a better representation of women. I have seen it work in many areas. In fact, in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade we had targets to increase female representation and they were working. We had a target of 50 per cent of all of our Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade boards and councils would have female representation and in June this year we reached that target, 50.6 per cent of all board positions that were handled by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade were women. So I have seen it work.
TIM MCMILLAN: The Labor Party itself have set targets, no quota as such but targets within their own rank. So, have they made the right move? Are you a supporter of what they have done and would you like to see your Party do the same?
JULIE BISHOP: They have increased the number of women in Parliament and I think that is a good thing. How individual parties go about it is a matter for the individual party but I am certainly supportive of efforts on the part of the Liberal Party to increase the number of women who represent their electorates across Australia and I would like to see it in the State Parliament as well.
TIM MCMILLAN: I must say when this issue comes up, often you put the question – or you have the discussion – with women who are doing great things in the community, taking on positions of leadership and you ask them would you go into politics and it is an absolute ‘no way, no way in the world’ because they don’t want to subject themselves to the sort of scrutiny that goes with that public life.
I want to point you to just an article in today’s Australian written by Janet Albrechtsen. She describes you, the headline goes, “Selfie serving Bishop still missing the point”. This is in light of your recent comments around the current culture in Parliament. She describes your comments as a “poke with a red stiletto by a bad loser”. There is a fairly unflattering cartoon to go with it. It goes on to say that the reason that you are not PM is becoming increasingly clear, “rehearsed soundbites, no substitute for substance”. Why would someone want to subject themselves to that sort of stuff?
JULIE BISHOP: I have enormous regard for Janet Albrechtsen but the point that I was making about Question Time, and I think that is the issue she has taken with my recent comments, the point I was making, it is the main visual image of Federal Parliament at work, and the feedback I get from men and women alike is that they don’t like what they see of their elected representatives in Question Time.
I have had many internal discussions as a Minister and a Shadow Minister and Deputy Leader about how we can improve Question Time. This is not a new interest of mine, this is something I have been talking about for a long time and changes have been made. But if the political class want more respect, then it has to be earned and I think that is a widely held view.
As for public commentary and public scrutiny, well that is part of being a public figure and even after 20 years in politics I am still of the view that entering public office is one of the highest callings and if you have an opportunity to dedicate your efforts and your energy and your ability to the betterment of your community or your state or your country then that is a contribution worth making.
TIM MCMILLAN: Julie Bishop the Member for Curtin is our guest this morning on 6PR. 92211882 is our talkback number. Happy to take your calls after we wrap up here.
Julie, I have to say though, you mentioned Janet’s comments as being framed around the Question Time episodes and the behaviour that goes on there in particular, but look she’s had a real crack at you. She talks about your “nose diving credibility”, it’s “self-inflicted”, she talks about your excitable classmate Julia Banks enthusiastically re-tweeting your tweets. How can you not take that personally and as someone who might be thinking about a career in politics, I ask the question again, why would they want to subject themselves to this sort of stuff? And I suppose the question that then follows from that is, you know, the culture around the politics, have sections of the media got something to answer for as well on this?
JULIE BISHOP: Well, as I said, I have enormous regard for Janet Albrechtson. She is an opinion writer so that means I don’t always agree with her on every topic that she writes about, but she is entitled to write whatever she wishes. I am perfectly happy to continue to advocate views that I have or issues that I care about. Some people will support that, others won’t, but that is part of being in public office. You are putting forward your views. I am who I am and I can’t change that, and some people will like it, others won’t. I am very much focussed on what I do, either as a Minister, or Shadow Minister, or now as the Member for Curtin and that is what matters to me. What can I do for other people? I don’t take these things personally. It is about what I can do for others. I am their elected representative and it is their interests and their concerns that are my interests and my concerns as a Member of Parliament.
TIM MCMILLAN: We are early stages into the tenure of Scott Morrison as our PM. How is he going in your opinion?
JULIE BISHOP: Well, I think the results yesterday of the final Budget Outcome were fantastic and Scott was the Treasurer throughout much of this period of economic growth and has overseen the restoration of our national finances and bringing the budget back to balance. The Budget deficit is now $19 billion better than forecast in May. I think that is a fantastic outcome and of course, Scott was Treasurer throughout much of that. The Coalition continues to manage the national finances well, we continue to bring the Budget back under control and we continue to provide policies that will create economic growth and create more jobs. In fact, more than 1 million jobs have been created since we came into Government in 2013. That is a big tick.
TIM MCMILLAN: Some might say that strengthens the argument, though, for keeping Malcolm Turnbull on there because a lot of that would have happened under his watch as well.
JULIE BISHOP: Well, the Coalition’s strengths are economic management and national security and that can be secured under a Coalition Government. Economic growth, more jobs, more opportunities – that is what we stand for.
TIM MCMILLAN: Julie, just before we close things up here, you had a mention in the rumour file this morning on the Breakfast Show with Baz and Millsy. I am not sure if you heard it or not. I am just going to play a little clip for you and I will ask you if you can clear this one up for us.
“Rumour has it, I was driving in Perth yesterday, says ‘run Julie run’ and 10 kilometres out of Toodyay, towards Perth I saw Julie Bishop running on the side of the Toodyay road in some very nice active wear. I find it very hard to believe that that was Julie Bishop, running in lycra near Toodyay 10 kilometres out. Now, every time we laugh the rumours seem to come true”.
TIM MCMILLAN: Now, can you confirm or deny Julie?
JULIE BISHOP: That was me.
TIM MCMILLAN: That was you. Brilliant.
JULIE BISHOP: That was me on a public holiday in Toodyay. I had been to the Toodyay races the day before.
TIM MCMILLAN: Yep, you’d been spotted there.
JULIE BISHOP: Yes, I stayed with friends and first thing on Monday morning I thought, it’s time to go for a run. And there was no Cottesloe Beach. I ran down Toodyay Road, turned into Lovers Lane, which is a beautiful scenic route around Toodyay, and had lovely 10 kilometre run. The rumour is true!
TIM MCMILLAN: Rumour confirmed. Thank you for clearing that up. Finally, Julie, just a couple of predictions for Saturday, your tip for a margin and your Norm Smith favourite – who would you like to see take out the Norm Smith?
JULIE BISHOP: Okay, for a margin, look, a point will do but I’d love it to be a couple of goals for the Eagles and Norm Smith? How about Jack Darling?
TIM MCMILLAN: Good choice.
JULIE BISHOP: That would be great…
TIM MCMILLAN: We will see if those come true.
JULIE BISHOP: … Jack Darling. I hope Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling are firing because when the big men fly we are unstoppable.
TIM MCMILLAN: Absolutely. Julie Bishop enjoy the Grand Final on the weekend. Appreciate your time this morning on the program.
JULIE BISHOP: Thanks Tim. Cheers.
– Ends –
Member for Curtin’s Office: (08) 9388 0288