De Vil in disguise? Why Julie Bishop would be a scary PM

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dalmation puppy

According to today’s news reports, Julie Bishop, the Liberal Government’s diminutive foreign minister, has more support as a future PM than former favourite — the heavy set but now lightweight — Treasurer Joe Hockey.

I’m reminded of the occasion I once met Julie Bishop and her Liberal Party colleagues. At the time, I was working at a Howard-era government funded Australian technical college, one of several established as an alternative path for students interested in trade careers.

Trade schools were closed in the 1980s when the Labor Government insisted that students not be streamed. Unfortunately, it was a disaster as the number of skilled tradespeople declined precipitously, so John Howard tried to redress this by opening eight trade schools across Australia. They were all closed again when Labor regained power.

Anyway, Bishop, her colleagues and a press contingent were ushered into the Australian Technical College in Burnie to meet local business owners. At the time, Malcolm Turnbull was leader of the Liberal Party but was toppled several months later by current PM Tony Abbot. He was introduced to the college staff and shook my hand. He showed some interest in my role as an IT teacher and proceeded to quiz me about the college internet speed. I told him I wasn’t that kind of IT teacher but a digital design one and he soon lost interest in the conversation.

Then it was Julie Bishop’s turn to be introduced. I was struck by her slight physique, perfect grooming and uncanny resemblance to the boutique owners of upper middle class suburbs. She appeared uncomfortable to be surrounded by the lower classes.

She is obviously tough and able to survive in the ego-driven, power hungry political environment. She’s a warrior woman alright, but more like Cruella De Vil than Boadicea. That is, she’s a successful woman whose fabulous wealth I wouldn’t be surprised to find is gained by skinning small, cute animals and selling them as fur coats.

Joe Hockey was the most personable politician circulating that day but has since destroyed his political chances by forcing an immoral budget on Australia’s hapless citizens.

These politicians are scary. Turnbull, I thought, was the only one who demonstrated some intelligence and look how his colleagues treated him.

As a minister for Impeccable Customer Service Julie Bishop would be terrific but as a potential PM she would be truly frightening.

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Sue Bell

Sue Bell is an entertainment writer and author of Backpacked: A mostly true story, Beat Street and When Dreamworks came to Stanley.

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