Foreign Minister Julie Bishop at the National Press Club
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop at the National Press Club

Julie Bishop: Gillard portrayed herself as a victim

FOREIGN Minister Julie Bishop has told the National Press Club how the former Prime Minister Julia Gillard "portrayed herself as a victim" after receiving an outpouring of support following her rise to the top.

It followed a speech in which she quoted former US foreign minister Madeleine Albright's line: "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women".

Ms Bishop was addressing the launch of Women in Media Canberra.

Katherine Murphy of The Guardian asked Ms Bishop if she felt there was some "employment of gender" in how Ms Gillard was received by both the public and the media.

The Foreign Minister said she was "as delighted as the next woman" that Australia had its first female leader, and recognised that at the time of her ascent.

"I recognised that there was an extraordinary outpouring of good will towards Julia Gillard as our first female Prime Minister but then, as should be the case, she was judged on her competence," Ms Bishop said.

"That's where she was found wanting.

"And, sadly, I think, for the position of Prime Minister, she then turned herself into a victim and portrayed herself as a victim.

"That was her choice but as far as I'm concerned, she was being judged on her competence, her honesty, her performance as Prime Minister."

In her opening remarks, Ms Bishop spoke of being inspired by her mother, who told her and her sisters, "You can do anything. Nothing should be off limits" and to "follow your dreams".

Ms Bishop's speech praised the quality of Australia's top female journalists, saying women now represent 56% of all journalists nationally although there remains a lack of women in management and leadership roles.

Moving closer to the expertise she has gained through her ministerial portfolio, Ms Bishop spoke of the two-thirds of the 780 million adults unable to read were women.

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