Canberra, Feb 21 : Former Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop, the highest-ranking woman to serve in the two-term government, on Thursday announced that she is leaving politics.
The announcement was made, in a surprise statement after Question Time. "I am also proud of the fact that I am the first woman to contest a leadership ballot of the Liberal Party in its 75-year history," she told the parliament.
Ms Bishop had faced months of speculation about her future after losing an internal party ballot to become prime minister last August. The vote handed the job to Scott Morrison, a report in BBC said.
The upheaval also ended her 11-year tenure as deputy leader of the party. Ms Bishop said she would not contest the next election, expected in May.
She said it had been an "immense honour" to serve as the Liberal Party's first female deputy leader, as well as her Perth electorate of Curtin for two decades.
Ms Bishop had been on the government's backbench since the leadership turmoil, which was brought on by the ouster of former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull. UNI