Bill Shorten has praised Julie Bishop’s special ‘talent’ and announced he wants to talk to the outgoing MP about undertaking a high-profile role representing Australia if he wins government.
‘I think Julie Bishop is good at most things she does,’ he told the Leadership Matters forum in Western Australia on Wednesday.
The Labor leader spoke highly of the former Foreign Affairs Minister when asked if he would consider her for an ambassadorial position.
‘She says she wants to work in the private sector, but I’ll certainly be talking to her,’ he said according to The West Australian.
‘I’m saying to you quite unreservedly here that I’ve got a lot of respect for her, Chloe and I know her well, she’s a good person and we can’t waste talent,’ he said.
Australia’s current ambassador to the US, former Liberal Treasurer Joe Hockey, has called it quits and will be returning home in January after three years in the job.
Mr Shorten lashed the Liberal Party for not choosing Ms Bishop as their leader and therefor PM during last year’s leadership spill in which Scott Morrison triumphed,
‘Candidly, I think the Liberal Party made a mistake (by not electing her leader),’ he said.
‘When none of her West Australian colleagues voted for her after everything she’s done for them, from fundraising to policy – what is it so hard about Liberal men to vote for Liberal women in positions of leadership.’
Mr Shorten went on to praise Ms Bishop for her stint as Foreign Affairs Minister and the manner in which she handled the MH17 disaster.
‘She’s served this country well. I haven’t always agreed with everything she’s said but I will always rate her very highly for when the plane of Australians was shot down over eastern Ukraine,’ he said.
‘I hope that if I was seeing Vladimir Putin, the way she stood up to the Russians, I hope that in the same circumstances I would behave like her.’
The suggestion to make a high ranking former Liberal draws a contrast to the events of 2016 when Malcolm Turnbull faced pressure from the cabinet and refused to nominate Kevin Rudd as UN secretary general.