JOURNALIST: Julie Bishop joins us this morning, g’day Julie.
JULIE BISHOP: Good morning Eddie, good morning boys. How are you going today?
JOURNALIST: Good morning Julie.
JOURNALIST: Well geez, it’s been an interesting week up in Canberra.
JULIE BISHOP: Well I’ve been in Melbourne for a few days so it’s been much more pleasant being here, I can assure you, but Canberra is back on again next week, so back to Parliament, back to work.
JOURNALIST: It’s been a very interesting couple of days. So Julie…
JOURNALIST: Sounds like a massive key party up there; I don’t understand what goes on in the corridors of power in Canberra anymore, Julie.
JULIE BISHOP: Oh it’s pretty straight forward. We’re all focussing on doing the best for the Australian people, we’re all there for the right reasons, we’ve all got our heart in the right place. We just go about it in different ways.
JOURNALIST: You certainly do, that’s for sure. Julie, let’s go back to the topic at hand, International Women’s Day. What is it that we need to do to get to the situation of equality? It seems ridiculous we’re still talking about this in 2016 but it is something we have to talk about.
JULIE BISHOP: Well Australia has laws in place that ensure we don’t discriminate on the basis of gender, so it’s unlawful to discriminate against women on the basis of their gender, but nevertheless there are attitudes and biases that still exist. For example the gender pay gap is still about 19% in Australia. That is, you’re doing the same work as a man but you’re paid, on average, 19% less. So these are some of the issues we still have to address. The number of women in leadership positions is still a challenge for us and the Government will be announcing that we are going to aim as a Government to ensure that 50% of the positions on Government-appointed boards are for women. It’s currently a 40% target but we need to aspire for a greater height than that, and so we are aspiring for 50% of the Government boards having women directors, and this is a kind of example where Government can lead. Also corporate Australia can show us all that there’s great value in diversity; the more women you have on a board or the more women you have in management/leadership positions, the more diverse your workforce and the more likely you are to succeed.
JOURNALIST: Or in a Cabinet, for that matter. Is there any push on within the Liberal Party to maybe throw a few more women in there?
JULIE BISHOP: Well that’s a very interesting point, isn’t it? If we’re aiming for 50% of women on boards? I can tell you I’ve been in a Cabinet where I was the only woman, and I’m now in a Cabinet with five other women, so there are six of us, and there really is a difference in the conversation around the table. When you have six women sitting in a room with 13 or 14 men, the conversation is different than if you were the only one, and I’ve really enjoyed it. It does bring a different approach, a different focus and bringing up issues that might not have otherwise been raised.
JOURNALIST: Now Julie, we’ve got to see you on the international stage and some of my most favourite moments have got to be your leadership and when confronting Vladimir Putin, for example, and seeing you at the United Nations. Do you feel as though Australia, are we in front on this score or are other nations behind, or have we got a way to catch up with some of the nations you deal with?
JULIE BISHOP: Well the number of female parliamentarians in Australia is quite high by international standards, not as high as some European countries but certainly higher than our region. Being a female Foreign Minister is still unusual, although the United States having had three in Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton, they really did set the standard for female Foreign Ministers or Secretaries of State. I think at present there about 26 female Foreign Ministers out of 193 countries, so it’s not an absolute curiosity but it’s still unusual to see female Foreign Ministers. But Australia does have a significant voice on the world stage, we certainly play our part. We’re involved in so many of the regional and global issues and I think that we certainly make our presence felt.
JOURNALIST: Julie, good luck today and good luck when you get up to Canberra next week and we look forward to seeing what goes on in the next couple of months in the build-up to the election.
JULIE BISHOP: Hey Eddie, I was pretty excited to see the AFL women’s team playing on the weekend too. Talk about a good start for International Women’s Day week, having the AFL women’s teams playing so well.
JOURNALIST: And I think you’d be even more delighted to know that all the clubs are punching on with each other to try and get the licence to have a women’s team as well…
JULIE BISHOP: Exactly.
JOURNALIST: I don’t think there’s ever been a better time for women’s sport than what it is right now so let’s capitalise on it.
JOURNALIST: Fair enough.
JULIE BISHOP: Exciting times.
JOURNALIST: Good on you Julie.
JULE BISHOP Thanks, bye.
JOURNALIST: Good luck and good to have Julie Bishop in town.
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