NOT Left or Right, Seriously NOT ALP, LIB or Green. Just a Punter... more

23 Nov 2014

Julie Bishop, Australia’s First Lady of Calibre

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Chris Lilly's 'Ja'ime Private School Girl'*

You would have to be living in a cave to have missed the blitzkrieg of Julie Bishop puff pieces in recent months. It seems that the only woman in Tony Abbott’s Cabinet may be the solution to all of the Governments woes? I won’t provide links to all these so-called ‘real’ Julie Bishop pieces as they don’t deserve the click through advertising that the publications themselves will make from them. Just Google and you will see for yourself if you have been hiding away from the headlines ;-)

Mr Murdoch may be deciding that Mr Abbott has stuffed up one time too many and is getting ready to replace him as head of our Government. OR, he could just be using the elevation of Julie Bishop in the public’s eye as a distraction from the fact that this Government is pretty much in a stalemate position. Giving the Government's backers a bit of space to kick their MP's butts to get the budget through. Obviously before too many Australian’s realise just how worse off the budget really is now that it is apparent that getting the budget back in surplus - without destroying our fair go ethos - is not in the Liberal National coalition DNA.

Me, I’m not so sure it is any of the above scenarios and I will state right up front, I am not a fan of Julie Bishop.

Maybe it is all those years in a Girls only school, but I ‘recognise’ Ms Bishop, to me, she seems the stereotypical ‘top’ girl, not worried about who she steps over to achieve what she wants. Not too concerned about twisting truth to ensure others are kept in her thrall as being important. One of those people that once you leave school and actually get a life, you wonder how the hell that top girl could have actually held so much control over the rest of her peer group, when in fact, it was always more style over substance and when you get right down to the nitty gritty, not a particularly nice person at all with very few revolving around her satellite of power not being used to personally make her look good at some stage over the years.

For mine, I think Ms Bishop is playing the long game and it is at her instigation, she is most definitely intelligent enough to set this in play.

It is not only Murdoch publications who are spruiking the pro Julie Bishop pieces, TV News networks and other non News Corp have joined the cool kids in displaying the ‘shining light’ of the Governments front benchers. From lording it up at the UN Security Council to looking stunning at the Melbourne Cup, there has been a piece of fluff to appeal to all demographics. Whoever her publicist is, they should be awarded.

Before you get too sucked in by the only woman of so-called calibre in PM Tony Abbott’s Government, maybe considering beyond the media massaging of her profile is in order?

For starters, that nasty Feminism irritant - not my opinion just channelling certain political commentators, you know who they are - keeps raising its ugly head. You know what? I think Ms Bishop loves being the only woman in cabinet, all focus is on her. Just like Joe Hockey leading up to the last election with his weight loss, Ms Bishop herself did similar, everything about her from hair to dress is just that bit sharper. Though obviously Ms Bishop employed better spin doctors then Joe Hockey did as his ‘Look at me’ makeover has not been quite as successful as Ms Bishops? Dropping a bit of weight & wearing sharper suits has not really been able to hide the fact that Mr Hockey is terribly out of depth as Treasurer.

I will state up front that like Ms Bishop, I also don’t identify 'specifically' as a Feminist. Personally I don’t like labels, though more importantly I believe in Equality, as in Equality of Opportunity for All. Nowadays in this nation, that actually puts me on Team Feminism as we have a Government that is not actually taking half of this population seriously and treating it with the respect it deserves. Also unlike Ms Bishop, I actually do honour Feminism and all the women who have fought over the years and now to give myself and of course Julie Bishop the ability to even go to school, University, enter Politics you name it. Without those women before her, Ms Bishop would not be in her current coveted position as the only woman in cabinet. To not acknowledge and pay homage to them, instead insisting that it is her effort alone that got her into a position of power is just re-inventing history and in fact, doing more harm to women in the community at large in their endeavours to achieve similar opportunity to their male counterparts whether it be in life or work.

This “I’m not a Feminist” BS is not the only example of where Ms Bishop has trampled over others… She has a habit of denying her achievement is on the back of others hard work and plenty in the media are happy to assist with this convenient memory loss.

The UN Security Council that has brought her to prominence and conveniently left her out of the domestic political arena where the Government is floundering is another example. Rarely is it mentioned that Ms Bishop was one of the biggest opposition mouthpieces in regard to gaining this seat. Even now, will not acknowledge that this was not actually her own Government’s achievement. In fact Ms Bishop fell into this position of looking good in front of the world by accident. Accident as in that the Opposition failed to stop the former Government from securing it. Accident, that Mr Abbott appointed her as Foreign Minister (although I am sure Mr Abbott didn't mind that the only female in his cabinet was to be mostly overseas and out of sight) and accident that awful events like MH17, ISIL and Ebola came to the forefront of the world’s attention. All Ms Bishop has actually done is just her job, adequately (unlike other Ministers) in a fortunate turn of events that she had absolutely no hand in bringing about, except that of lying low & ingratiating herself with the power brokers in her own party to be in position to take advantage of opportunity when it presents itself. This is Forbes woman of the year?

I won’t start on the former asbestos issue, I have ranted about that before. Though I will state again, even though I don’t like the tactics Ms Bishop implemented against Wittenoom victims, I don’t hold that against her. As a solicitor, she was doing her job at the time to the best of her ability to benefit her client. What I find unforgiveable is the fact that unlike many of us who may have had to perform odious tasks in the past at the behest of an employer, Ms Bishop is still ‘proud’ of the work she did, no regrets, in fact, she goes as far as to say that her performance as a solictor can’t be compared to Ms Gillard (ala Union Slush fund). Yep, she honestly thinks that some solicitor who at her own admission made mistakes in the past, probably her worst sin. hooking up with a dodgy partner - which resulted in a Union ripping off members is a far worse crime then forcing victims into a position where they DIED before they could see justice for the damage caused to them? Yep, really…

I could go into her so-called ticking off of Barack Obama over his Reef comments, but I won’t bother. Anyone who knows and cares about the Reef has already called bullshit on it. The only purpose of this gesture was to give a few a few domestic commentators their jollies and of course keep in sweet with the resource backers who have bankrolled Ms Bishop.

My warning is for people who despise Mr Abbott to think very carefully before jumping on the Julie Bishop band-wagon to get rid of him.

From what I can ascertain she is an intelligent, some would say cunning operator. I seriously doubt the Liberals will punt Mr Abbott before the next election, that is just not the way they roll, though, if it does look bad enough in the polls Mr Abbott could be encouraged to step aside - for personal reasons of course - leaving Ms Bishop as the only real contender for the job due to her high profile (which she has carefully built up, cue applause for the publicist & News Corp) and the fact she is not tainted by the domestic ‘efficiency dividends’ - some would say cuts and lies - again, taking advantage of being in the right place at the right time.

I am pretty sure that regardless of how you feel about Mr Abbott, Ms Bishop in the top job would be a hell of a lot worse. She may embarrass us less on the International stage, though you can be pretty sure, like any ‘top girl’, she will ensure that her cabinet are beholden to her. If we are lucky, some of these Ministers may actually be competent, most though will be the sort that lack a spine and just want to be in the top crowd (looking at you Mr Turnbull). A Government run on these lines is really dangerous.

At least at the moment we have hope that if Mr Abbott continues down this track he is currently on, his Government could actually be punted at the next election. With Ms Bishop in charge, well, that would be a very different story, one I think the Press Gallery may be unable to really grasp until it is too late.

From what I can see from Ms Bishop’s actions over the years, Julie Bishop seems single-minded in her pursuit and has worked hard to achieve her goal. Ordinarily those attributes would be admired to a degree. However, when this is achieved upon the backs of others hard work, never acknowledged, credit is taken where it is not due and situations manipulated to ensure that the planned long game strategies end result is purely in the pursuit of power itself for no other purpose, well what do you get?

I will leave it to you to answer that question and give you this to consider? Many already have buyer’s remorse with this Government, tossing Tony Abbott back for a refund and getting Julie Bishop as a replacement would most likely be going from the frying pan to the fire.

I am highly doubtful that our nation’s first and obviously only lady of calibre - if both Ms Bishop & our PM’s "knocking on the door" comments are to be taken with more than a grain of salt - that our media are presenting to us for consumption is the answer. I will grant Ms Bishop that the strategy has been flawless so far, the rise gradual and carefully planned and presented. This alone should make us all very wary.

I strongly suspect that Ms Bishop and her spin doctors are now sitting back smiling, safe in the knowledge that due to the Press Galleries now belated sensitivity as to the appalling treatment handed out to our former female Prime Minister that they will err on the side of caution and that Ms Bishop will most likely in fact be accorded a lot more respect and leeway than her male counterparts would get. This irony alone that they are going to benefit from a nasty narrative that they themselves put in play must be just delicious for Ms Bishop and her advisors - sadly for us.

Buyer beware. We know where PM Abbott’s loyalties lie. Ms Bishop, well, I suspect regardless of how she presents to her patrons, her true loyalties lie with Ms Bishop herself, first and foremost.  Judging on form as to how she gets to the top job, I am not sure I want someone with that type of personality in power. The vicarious thrill I would get from seeing Mr Murdoch ‘played’ to help her into power would be fleeting compared to the worry I would have if this type of personality - if she is as I suspect that ‘top girl type’ - was to become top boss in our nation?

Hopefully I am reading Julie Bishop’s rise to be the cream of the crop wrong? I am just a punter, but...

Cheers,
Noely

*As many who have had a girl's only school education would recognise, Chris Lilly's 'Ja'ime Private School Girl' really does exhibit many of the psychological traits found in the real life 'top girl' scenarios.  The atypical ‘top girl’ will do whatever it takes to be top girl. There is no purpose to achieve great things once in that position, getting there & staying there IS the end game.

NOTE: I am not using ‘top girl’ in a sexist manner against Ms Bishop. Just recognising what I have seen from my own life experience. My husband who had the private boys school experience opines that there is really no equivalent as a boys school’s lines are more divided along strongest vs smartest, not so much the one ultimate ‘cool group’.

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