Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop quits | News | DW | 26.08.2018
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Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop quits

Australia's foreign minister has stepped down after a failed bid to replace ousted Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister. Julie Bishop was the first woman to serve as Australia's top diplomat.

Julie Bishop resigned as Australia's foreign minister on Sunday after losing a leadership battle to become the next prime minister.

Her colleagues in the ruling Liberal Party chose Treasurer Scott Morrison to take over from Malcolm Turnbull in an internal ballot on Friday. Bishop, the party's deputy leader, reportedly secured just 11 votes out of 85 in the first round — significantly lower than Morrison and the third challenger, Peter Dutton. 

"Today I advised the prime minister that I will be resigning from my Cabinet position as minister for foreign affairs," Bishop said in a statement, adding that she would remain in Parliament on the backbench.

The 62-year-old was Australia's first female foreign minister and the Liberals' first female deputy leader.

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Morrison was sworn in as Australian prime minister — the seventh in 11 years — on Friday after the Liberal Party's conservative faction led by Dutton launched a revolt against Turnbull

His new Cabinet includes Christopher Pyne as the new defense minister and Dutton returning as minister of home affairs. Senator Mathias Cormann, one of several senior ministers who had pledged their loyalty to Turnbull before turning on him, will return as finance minister.

Bishop did not say whether she planned to stand in the next federal election in May 2019. That decision could have major implications for Morrison's government, which has a parliamentary majority of just one seat.

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'Tireless work ethic'

Bishop was first elected as a lawmaker in 1998 for the seat of Curtin, in the Western Australian city of Perth. She served as minister for education and science and for women before becoming foreign minister in Tony Abbott's government in 2013. The following year she played a key role in the international response to Russia's shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine.

Turnbull tweeted she "has been and remains an inspiring role model for women here and around the world."

Bishop's counterpart in the opposition Labor Party, Penny Wong, praised her "tireless work ethic," adding that her "commitment to standing up for Australia both here and abroad has never been in question."

nm/aw (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)

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