Julie Bishop to resign as Australia's foreign minister

Australia's incoming Prime Minister Scott Morrison walks with his deputy Josh Frydenberg after a party meeting in Canberra

Australia's incoming Prime Minister Scott Morrison walks with his deputy Josh Frydenberg after a party meeting in Canberra Credit AFP

A formidable Foreign Minister and loyal deputy to three separate leaders over the course of a decade? She was easily the electorate's choice.

In a statement Bishop said that she had made no decision yet about whether she would quit politics entirely at the next election or stay on as a backbencher.

Bishop received 11 votes in Friday's leadership ballot - coming in behind both Prime Minister Scott Morrison and former Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton - in a surprise result, given that she is popular amongst voters and well regarded in the worldwide diplomatic circuit.

LEAKED messages between Federal Liberals suggest Julie Bishop was the victim of a dirty tricks campaign during last week's leadership spill.

A moderate, she reportedly garnered only 11 votes out of 85 in the leadership ballot - significantly lower than the two other right-wing challengers, coup instigator Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Treasurer Scott Morrison.

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With Ms Bishop knocked out, the contest was between Mr Dutton and Mr Morrison, with the latter winning by five votes.

'Cormann rumoured to be putting some WA votes behind Julie Bishop in round 1, ' a message believed to be have sent by Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher read.

'Despite our hearts tugging us to Julie we need to vote with our heads for Scott in Round one'. She would never be "another man's deputy" again.

Bishop had put her name forward on Friday to replace Malcolm Turnbull as Liberal leader, making the leadership spill a three-way contest with then-treasurer Scott Morrison and the former home affairs minister, Peter Dutton.

"I said in the party room on Friday that issues of bitterness and these things that arise from these events - that has to go, because Australians expect us to focus on them, rightly".

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Renowned for her steely gaze dubbed the "death stare", Bishop's highlights as foreign minister include her strong condemnation of Russia's role in the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines MH17 in 2014.

Mr Morrison has announced Christopher Pyne will replace Senator Payne as Defence Minister and Steve Ciobo steps into the Defence Industry role.

"We're dealing with someone who's familiar with the New Zealand political psyche, the composition of New Zealand, how [we] think and work so I would imagine that basically is a very good start", he said.

Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham has praised Ms Bishop for being "the most significant woman in the history of the Liberal Party". Most would agree she deserved to be Prime Minister.

Poetic justice will no doubt be served at the next election.

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