Liberal leadership spill: Cottesloe voters give their thoughts on Julie Bishop

Julie Bishop at Floreat Surf Life Saving Club.
Julie Bishop at Floreat Surf Life Saving Club.

CURTIN electorate voters in Cottesloe welcomed their local member Julie Bishop putting her designer hat in the ring for the Liberal Party leadership – in a vote that could make her prime minister this morning.

“I was wondering last night why she wasn’t running, but now she is that’s great, and just because she is a woman,” voter Mel Ward said.

Any vote will end the reign of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, but it hinges on at least 43 Federal MPs signing a letter calling for a party room spill scheduled for 10am Perth time.

Legal advice from the Solicitor-General has reportedly been received this morning, clearing Mr Dutton’s eligibility to be in Federal Parliament.

In Cottesloe yesterday, Ms Bishop’s success as foreign minister was often acknowledged, while some voters feared if she became prime minister she could be attacked as a woman in the same way that Australia’s first female prime minister Julia Gillard faced abuse.

“But the way Julie goes about her business is very business-like, and she’s a woman who knows what she is doing,” voter Cliff Bortignow said.

Julie Bishop jogging with a staffer.

Ms Bishop was first elected to the blue-ribbon, ultra-safe Liberal seat of Curtin in 1999 and holds the seat with an 18.2 per cent margin from the 2016 Federal Election.

She has survived several leadership coups, ending up being long-serving deputy leader.

However, her career has not been without incident, including annoying teachers across the country in 2006, the Firetrade political donations scandal of the same year and stumbling when opposition treasury spokeswoman in 2008.

Her subsequent move to the Foreign Ministry has resulted in a portfolio for which she has been praised for her ability to represent the nation on world stages.

As recently as this morning, a snap Roy Morgan text message poll indicated she was preferred by the public ahead of all other to contenders to opposition leader Bill Shorten.

Her opponents will be Treasurer Scott Morrison and hard-line former immigration Minister Peter Dutton, whose ambitions for the top job triggered an initial leadership vote he lost on Monday.

“Thank God Bishop is running. I’ve worked on Nauru Island and experienced what Peter Dutton did with the asylum seekers there,” Queensland visitor to Cottesloe Lesley Cave said.