It was all about the shoes. The red satin block pumps, to be more specific.
As Julie Bishop held a press conference to talk about her resignation from Cabinet, the media’s cameras pointed downwards. News stories and social media feeds featured zoomed-in shots of Bishop’s shoes, plus her matching red nails and her sparkly earrings.
Twitter users had a lot to say.
“Julie Bishop’s awesome final power move – she wears red power heels in resignation press conference,” tweeted zanazana.
Several thought Bishop had taken her inspiration from The Wizard Of Oz.
“Wearing red Dorothy shoes ,” wrote Tracey McLeod Howe. “Take me home to Kansas.”
Or maybe not Dorothy…
“Weren't the red shoes from the Wicked Witch of the West?” asked Hamish Barker.
Others didn’t care what the shoes signified. They just wanted them.
“I am bloody living for those shoes, Julie,” wrote Mince Pie-lie. “Who? What? Where?”
Of course, Bishop would have known that her shoes were going to get attention. She would have carefully considered her choice of outfit that day, just as she’s carefully considered all the other choices she’s made in her career.
That’s one of the things that’s made her such a successful politician. And really, isn’t it that success as a politician that we should be talking about right now, not her footwear choices, as fabulous as they might be?
Like her policies or not, Bishop has racked up some impressive achievements in her career.
She’s a stayer. She’s been an MP since 1998, and became deputy leader of the Liberals in 2007, at the end of the Howard/Costello era. She stuck around through three different leaders.
She’s got the hang of diplomacy. She took on the tricky portfolio of foreign affairs in 2013. She got through five years of dealing with China, Russia and even Trump’s America without causing major embarrassment.
She’s a hard worker. Even Penny Wong, from the other side of politics, has praised her “tireless work ethic”. Australian journalist Peter Greste has talked about all the quiet effort she put in to get him released from jail in Egypt.
She fought for the families of the victims of the MH17 disaster. She stood up to Russia over the shooting down of the flight. The parents of Otis, Mo and Evie Maslin sent her a text of support just last week.
She has the best death stare in the business. Officially.
Sure, let’s talk about Bishop’s shoes. Yes, they probably were a bit of a “f**k you” to the Liberal men who hadn’t made her leader, despite her impressive achievements and her undisputable popularity with the public. They’ve let her know that she’s not quite one of them, so she’s going to highlight that. She wouldn’t be so undignified as to have a verbal dig at them during her press conference, but she’ll let the heels do that quietly for her.
But let’s see the shoes as a symbol of Bishop’s political career, not something to talk about instead of that.