Speakers Profile - The Hon Julie Bishop

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The Hon Julie Bishop served as Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2013 until her resignation in 2018. She was the first female to hold the role as well as the first female Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, serving for 11 years. She was the longest serving Member for Curtin in the House of Representatives, elected in 1998 until 2019.

As Foreign Minister, Ms Bishop was responsible for strengthening Australia’s key strategic and economic relationships and enhancing 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. With Ministerial responsibility for more than 5,000 departmental staff as well as government agencies Australian Secret Intelligence Service and Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research.

She led the single largest expansion of Australia's overseas diplomatic presence in 40 years, increasing to 110 diplomatic missions. Ms Bishop developed the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper, providing a comprehensive policy framework for the next decade; and established the New Colombo Plan, enabling Australian undergraduates to live, study and work in the Indo-Pacific region. Within five years more than 40,000 students have participated in the Plan.

Bringing her experience from the private sector, Ms Bishop established the innovationXchange within DFAT to develop bold and creative solutions to longstanding, overseas development assistance challenges, and overhaul Australia’s foreign aid focus.

Ms Bishop promoted Australia's interests at the United Nations Security Council. In 2014, she led the international response to the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine, and was awarded the Commander of the Order of Merit of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

For her contribution to the US Australia alliance, in 2018 Ms Bishop received the inaugural Eleanor Roosevelt US Mission Award for Leadership Excellence.

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, Minister Bishop was Minister for Ageing.

Before entering Parliament Ms Bishop was a commercial litigation lawyer at Perth firm Clayton Utz, becoming a partner in 1985, and managing partner in 1994. Ms Bishop graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Adelaide in 1978 and attended Harvard Business School in Boston in 1996, completing the Advanced Management Program for Senior Managers. In 2017, the University of Adelaide awarded Ms Bishop the Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University for her contribution to Australian parliamentary service and in 2020 she was also awarded an honorary doctorate from ECU.

In 2020 Julie was awarded a Fisher Family Fellowship for the Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Centre for Science and International Affairs. In 2021 Julie was awarded the Kissinger Fellowship at the McCain Institute of International Leadership at Arizona State University. In 2021 Julie was appointed by the UK Government to the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council (GEAC) She is also a member of the Trilateral Commission Capitalism Task Force and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) AI Policy Forum Steering Committee. Julie was chosen by Mattel Australia as the 2021 Aus Shero Official Role Model as part of the Barbie Dream Gap Project for her inspiring career and iconic contribution as Australia’s first female Foreign Minister.

Julie is the Chancellor of Australian National University, Chair of Telethon Kids Institute, Chair of Prince’s Trust Australia, member of the international advisory boards of Afiniti and the Human Vaccines Project and is the Patron of Shooting Stars (an education programme for young aboriginal girls).

She has also established a boutique advisory firm, Julie Bishop and Partners.

Ms Bishop has previously served as Chair of the WA Town Planning Appeal Tribunal, Director of SBS Media, Director of the West Coast Eagles AFL Club and on the Murdoch University Senate.