The Weekly

Julie Bishop delivers a stirring first public speech since Scott Morrison's appointment to PM

''There’s a lot to be done and I’m committed to be helping do it.'' The former deputy leader of the Liberal party touched on her future plans.

By: Bettina Tyrrell and Jess Pullar

Just two weeks ago, Julie Bishop was the most powerful woman in Australian politics, considered "the people's choice" to lead the liberal party during the recent leadership spill.

Yet, Scott Morrison was appointed the top job and the former foreign minister moved to the backbench.

Today for the first time since the dramatic spill, Bishop delivered a speech at The Australian Women's Weekly AGL Women of the Future Awards.

Bishop chose the awards, which celebrate inspiring young women who are making a difference, to discuss the culture of Australian politics and the "unequal treatment of women" in her workplace, as well touching on her future plans.

Julie Bishop arrived to the event with her partner David Panton.

Bishop said, "Just 10 days ago I was elected for the seventh time in 11 years as the deputy leader of the Federal Liberal party."

"Over the next three days there were a series of events that resulted in my resignation as the deputy leader and my resignation from the cabinet."

"The events surrounding the leadership change will be discussed and debated and dissected for years to come. I'm just sitting back wondering 'gee what will I do when I grow up?'"

"I'm not going to add to that debate today. It's too soon."

READ NEXT: Interview: Julie Bishop gets personal

Julie Bishop is a firm advocate of women supporting women. Addressing the crowd, the politician didn't hold back as she claimed, "Australian government is an embarrassing circus".

Rather than adding to the conversation, Bishop discussed how these events have actually raised a much more important issue: workplace culture.

"These events have given rise to a much broader debate about workplace culture. This includes allegations of bullying, harassment and coercion and the unequal treatment of women."

"It's evident that there is an acceptance of a level of behaviour in Canberra that would not be tolerated in any other workplace in Australia."

She added, "I have seen and witnessed some appalling behaviour, that in a law firm I would never have accepted but in parliament, it's the norm."

"Don't say toughen up Princess, say enough is enough!" Julie Bishop addresses a room of Australia's most influential women.

Bishop went on to explain that to understand the issues in Australian politics, it's important to look at it in a broader context.

"Politics is robust, it's not for the faint hearted."

She spoke of the opposition who she says are now using their position to bring down the Government purely for "self-interested motives".

"It's not about what's good for Australia. It's about the lure of the authority and privileges associated with ministerial office. I've witnessed this on both sides of the office."

"But when we politicians show such contempt for each other, aren't the public justified in feeling contempt for all of us?"

Despite her criticism of Canberra, Bishop has hope for the future.

"I'm optimistic about the future of politics in Australia. Things will change, and they must," she said.

And while Bishop says since stepping down, her "diary is empty", she still has much to do for the people of Curtin and also women in politics.

"We must defend and strengthen our institutions and we must treat our parliament with more respect. Unacceptable workplace practices are the responsibility of us all to identify, to stop it, to fix it. Also I firmly believe that no nation will reach its potential unless it fully embraces the talent and skill and energy and intellect and ideas of the 50 percent of its population that is female."

"I say to my party, it is not acceptable for us to have in 2018 to have less than 25 percent of our parliamentarians as female."

"It is not acceptable for our party to contribute to a fall in Australia's ratings from 15th in the world in terms of female parliamentary representatives in 1999, to 50th today."

"There's a lot to be done and I'm committed to be helping do it."

Finally, Bishop left a note for the women in the room.

"Don't let go of your dreams too easily, believe in yourself, back your judgement and do not ever ever let anyone define who you are or what you can achieve," she said.