The Hon Julie Bishop MP was sworn in as Australia’s 38th Minister for Foreign Affairs this morning at Government House in Canberra.
Ms Bishop will assume this senior frontbench position at a critical time in international relations; when Australia is President of the United Nations Security Council, and as Australia assumes the Chair of the G20 in December.
As Foreign Minister, Ms Bishop will lead Australian efforts to strengthen relations with our key partners and drive Australia’s contribution to global and regional forums.
“I am honoured to have been appointed Foreign Minister as we have developed policies that I believe will advance Australia’s economic, strategic and cultural links with countries in our region. “It is vital that Australia’s foreign policy is positioned to take advantage of the global shift in economic power to Asia,” Ms Bishop said.
“Enhancing Australia’s economic diplomacy is integral to enabling Australia to compete for access to emerging and developing markets, particularly in Asia. Expediting the conclusion of free trade agreements with South Korea, Japan and China is a first order priority of the Abbott Government.
“Through the Coalition’s New Colombo Plan, I am committed to building people-to-people links across our region, by providing an opportunity for young Australians to become “Asia literate” through studying and working in the region, and bringing that expertise and experience home,” she said.
Within the Foreign Affairs portfolio, Ms Bishop will also take on the role of Minister for International Development and will oversee a refocussing of the Australian aid program to ensure a more effective and efficient delivery of development assistance.
“I am proud to be Australia’s first female Foreign Minister and I look forward to promoting and protecting the interests of Australia and Australians,” Ms Bishop said.