Julie Bishop on the West Coast Eagles, China and chocolate

Curtin MHR Julie Bishop at the WSBA breakfast. Picture: Jon Bassett
Curtin MHR Julie Bishop at the WSBA breakfast. Picture: Jon Bassett

CURTIN MHR Julie Bishop revealed at a Western Suburbs Business Association breakfast on Friday that she had recently lost her dream job – the number one ticket holder for the West Coast Eagles.

It was also noted that the former deputy leader and foreign affairs minister could demolish a family sized block of chocolate in one sitting.

Before addressing the topic – small business – Ms Bishop shared that her family had been in small business for five generations.

Her father’s family had an apple and cherry orchard in South Australia and her mother came from a sheep farming family.

“The year before I was born there was the Black Sunday fires and we lost the orchard,” Ms Bishop said.

“My childhood was overshadowed by the recovery from that bushfire.

“We were a bit like a commune and we all pitched in picking cherries, picking apples and tending to sheep.

“I understand the hardship and the huge bonds you build in a family business.”

The Chinese economy

Ms Bishop said the growth of the Chinese economy was nothing short of a miracle.

“We’ve had a free trade agreement with China for a couple of years and all businesses across Australia can tap in to the consumer market in China,” she said.

The 4th industrial revolution

Ms Bishop said technology advancements disrupted the way we lived.

Things like automation and robotics are changing the way we do business.

“The better prepared we are the more successful we will be,” she said.


Going for a run around Buckingham Palace with British politician Boris Johnson was a memorable running session for Ms Bishop.

“He’s not a natural runner but insisted on bringing a press core with him,” she said.

She also recalled giving 12 suit-wearing security staff a harder workout than they expected in Beijing.

“They ran their little hearts out,” she said.

“The next morning all 12 of them were in brand new running gear.”

Making decisions

Ms Bishop said she relied on her instincts and took circumstances as they were presented when making decisions in high pressure environments.

“Over the years I’ve taken up roles that have been daunting but if you believe in yourself and set high standards I think you can tackle almost anything,” she said.

“The biggest decision I’ve ever made was to leave the law and go into federal politics 20 years ago.”