As Julie Bishop walked into a dinner in Cambodia with twenty other foreign affairs ministers from around the world two years ago, she looked forward to her conversation with her Cambodian and Chinese counterparts, who she would be seated between.
A dry event, the Foreign Affair’s Minister of Russia, Sergei Lavrov, showed some colleagues a flask of Scotch sitting in his pocket, as though he had been anticipating the lack of alcohol.
It was this very man who continued to deceive Bishop.
“I took a sip of tea and spat it out,” Bishop recalled to The Sydney Morning Herald.
“It was scotch.”
As she looked across the room, she realised it was the same man boasting a flask of Scotch who had bribed a waiter to spike her tea with the spirit, as he offered her a wave.
“He’d bribed a waiter to put scotch into my teacup. Lavrov is evil,” she added in the interview.
It is just another way that Bishop was deceived during her time as Foreign Affairs Minister, as fellow politicians undermined her on the back of her gender.
Perhaps most devastating of all though was the leaked WhatsApp message conspiring to vote Bishop out, despite her popularity in the eyes of the Australian public during the leadership spill.
According to the WhatsApp thread shown on ABC‘s Insiders, several Liberal PMs banded together to ensure Bishop’s first round defeat.
The WhatsApp thread was titled, “friends for stability,” and included Liberal MPs Christopher Pyne, Chris Crewther, Anne Ruston, Marise Payne, Simon Birmingham, and Kelly O’Dwyer, to name a few.
Attempting to avoid Mathias Cormann’s rumoured tactic to secure Peter Dutton’s leadership success, they were all encouraged to vote for Scott Morrison, regardless of their “heart tugging [them]” to Julie.
“Cormann rumoured to be putting some WA votes behind Julie Bishop in round 1,” Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher began, writing to the WhatsApp group.
“Be aware that this is a ruse trying to get her ahead of Morrison so he drops out and his votes to Dutton.
“Despite our hearts tugging us to Julie we need to vote with our heads for Scott in round one.”
“Someone should tell Julie,” one PM responded.
“I have… Very respectfully,” Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne said.
Bishop only received 11 votes in her favour after the first round, and shortly after stepped down as Foreign Minister.
Her treatment in parliament on a national and international level is telling of the inherent sexism that penetrates political circles around the world.