Julie Bishop Remains Liberal Deputy Leader For Eight Years

15/09/2015 8:55 AM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
Fairfax Media/ Alex Ellinghausen

The stunning near-invincibility of Julie Bishop is on show again today, having survived eight years and three leadership spills as the Liberals' second chair.

Bishop, she possessed of the famous death stare and formidable emoji game, has been seen as the kingmaker in Malcolm Turnbull's return to the Liberal leadership (aptly dubbed #ReTurnbull on Twitter). She came to Tony Abbott to inform him the partyroom had lost support in him, and then switched her support to Turnbull in the leadership ballot.

It might be the biggest gambit of Bishop's long and storied political career.

Holding the Western Australian seat of Curtin since 1998, Bishop held a string of positions in the Howard government including Minister for Ageing, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women's Issues and Minister for Education, Science and Training. When Howard was defeated in 2007 and the Liberals were banished to opposition, Bishop supported eventual leader Brendan Nelson and became his deputy.

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Nelson and Bishop after their election as leader and deputy leader on November 29, 2007 (Fairfax Media/Andrew Taylor)

That would kickstart almost 400 weeks as party deputy, under Nelson, then Turnbull, then Abbott, and now Turnbull again. Her staying factor has not gone unnoticed.

When Turnbull forced Nelson from the job, Bishop was there as his deputy.

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Turnbull and Bishop on September 16, 2008, as Turnbull won the ballot for Liberal leader (Fairfax Media/Glen McCurtayne)

When Turnbull was forced out by a hungry Abbott in 2009, Bishop remained on as deputy leader.

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Abbott and Bishop speaks to the media after Abbott won the leadership ballot on December 1, 2009 (Fairfax Media/Stefan Postles)

And, last night, Bishop was there again supporting her new leader; Turnbull, again.

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Turnbull and Bishop share a laugh after Monday's leadership ballot returned Turnbull to the top job (Fairfax Media/Andrew Meares)

As News Corp political editor Samantha Maiden pointed out, Monday was a momentous occasion for more reasons than one.

As Nelson was rolled for Turnbull, then Turnbull was beaten by Abbott, and now as Abbott has been knifed in turn by Turnbull, the one stable, continuing factor was Bishop. As she watched her leaders fall around her, she seems to have effortlessly dodged the bullets to keep her chair.

Always the bridesmaid, it will be interesting to watch to see if Bishop ever steps out to become the bride on her own.

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