Emotional Julie Bishop hands over Liberal reigns in Curtin

Ms Bishop, with North Metropolitan MLC Peter Collier in the background, warned about independent candidates. Pictures: Jon Bassett.
Ms Bishop, with North Metropolitan MLC Peter Collier in the background, warned about independent candidates. Pictures: Jon Bassett.

DEPARTING Curtin MHR Julie Bishop cited how she increased her Liberal Party’s vote when she handed the baton to candidate Celia Hammond at a Cottesloe Beach Hotel campaign launch for the seat last night.

It was Ms Bishop’s last act in the seat she has held for 21 years, before the Federal Election on May 18.

“I’m very proud of the legacy I leave Celia, and the momentum we have started,” she said.

Since 2010, Ms Bishop increased the Liberals’ two-party preferred vote from 66 per cent in 2010, 67.4 per cent in 2013 and 70.7 per cent in 2016.

Her political career has included being deputy leader of the party for 11 years and Australia’s first female foreign minister.

Ms Bishop listens to Ms Hammond.

However she left Parliament in February, after a coup from the party’s right that ousted her fellow moderate and former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull the previous August.

“As foreign minister, and in all my roles, it was my job to make sure that for any woman who followed me that it would be easier, not harder ,” Ms Bishop said last night.

The seat will now be contested by Ms Hammond, the Green Party’s Cameron Pidgeon, Australian Christian Deonne Kingsford, and independent Louise Stewart, who is pitching a socially moderate view compared to Ms Hammond’s conservatism.

In 1998, Ms Bishop got only 44.6 per cent of the primary vote when she took the seat from independent MHR Allan Rocher with 17 per cent, who was third after Labor.

Ms Bishop, with Cottesloe MLA David Honey in the background, welcomed Liberal candidate Celia Hammond’s campaign.

She offered some advice to Ms Hammond, after wishing her the best for the campaign.

“Beware of independents, I say,” Ms Bishop said.

While watching Ms Hammond speak, Ms Bishop was sometimes consoled by friends, and her emotions were perceptible.

Ms Hammond said Ms Bishop would be tough to follow.

“I’m not sure you’ve made it easier for women who followed you because you’ve put the bar so high,” she said.