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Julie Bishop to become ANU’s first woman chancellor

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Former foreign minister Julie Bishop is to become the next chancellor of the Australian National University.

The retired Liberal politician will replace former Labor politician Gareth Evans, and will be the first woman to hold the role.

Ms Bishop – who left federal parliament at the election in May after more than 20 years – will begin a three-year term on January 1.

In an email to staff, Pro-Chancellor Naomi Flutter said Ms Bishop knew ANU well and had a deep interest in education.

“In Julie, I know we will have a compelling and effective advocate for our university including with the Australian government,” she said.

“As Australia’s foreign minister, she always represented our national interests strongly, navigating often sensitive foreign policy issues.”

Ms Bishop said she was looking forward to working with the university to support and further the national interest.

“The world is facing unprecedented change,” the Liberal Party luminary said in a video message.

“ANU is playing a vital role in the research and development to create a better world, and is equipping our students with the skills and abilities and knowledge to make a significant contribution to that world.”

Since leaving politics, Ms Bishop has also been appointed to the board of international consultancy firm Palladium. That position is now the subject of a Senate inquiry, amid opposition and crossbench claims it is a breach of the ministerial code of conduct.

Ms Bishop is also reportedly part of a big-budget TV talk show pitch by production company Screentime, which is behind shows such as Anh’s Brush with Fame, Wife Swap and Wolf Creek.

Screentime producer Andrew Garrick said early in July that the company had approached Ms Bishop about the project – but “she wasn’t on board yet”.

In May, it emerged that Ms Bishop – who was born in the Adelaide Hills – had turned down an offer to become governor of South Australia. “She would have done an amazing job,” he sister, MaryLou Bishop, told Adelaide radio.

“However, I know why she said ‘no’, I understand completely.”

Mr Evans, himself a former foreign minister, has been chancellor of the university since 2010.

The decision to make Ms Bishop his replacement was made after staff were invited to “chancellorship forums” to provide insights into the kind of leader they wanted.

“You highlighted the need for an eminent, distinguished individual, befitting our university’s stature,” Ms Flutter told staff.

“It was clear you wanted someone who understands our distinctive role as the national university … and someone who appreciates the transformative power of universities, through their teaching and research.

“In Julie, we have such a person.”

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