Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop quits

Stefan Postles  Getty Images Treasurer Scott Morrison, Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop

Cabinet minister Simon Birmingham earlier on Sunday said Ms Bishop was "the most significant woman in the history of the Liberal Party" and deserved to make a decision about her future without external pressure.

Mr Turnbull on Sunday described her as Australia's finest foreign minister and thanked her for her loyalty and friendship.

Ms Bishop contested Friday's leadership vote but was eliminated in the first round, with Mr Morrison then emerging as a surprise compromise victor over Peter Dutton, Mr Turnbull's conservative challenger who brought the leadership crisis to a head earlier in the week.

"Despite our hearts tugging us to Julie we need to vote with our heads for Scott [Morrison] in round one", one senior MP...

Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce, who resigned from cabinet in February, will become special envoy for drought assistance and recovery.

Bishop did not say whether she planned to stand in the next federal election in May 2019.

Poll after poll had indicated Bishop was the Liberal Party's best shot (outside of ousted PM Malcolm Turnbull) to win the next election. An SMS Morgan poll last week in fact, conveyed she held preferred PM by a considerable margin- 64 percent against Labor's Bill Shorten, 36 percent.

Mathias Cormann, a party power broker who backed Dutton, retained his finance portfolio. She attracted no votes from her home state of Western Australia.

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Bishop contested Friday's leadership vote but was eliminated in the first round, with Morrison then emerging as a surprise compromise victor over Peter Dutton, Turnbull's conservative challenger who brought the leadership crisis to a head earlier in the week.

Since her resignation, supporters of the former deputy have paid tribute to her career.

Perth Now is reporting that Ms Bishop has decided it "is in the interests of the nation" that she retire as a minister.

"For five years she has dedicated her life to our nation with a tireless work ethic and exhausting travel schedule", Senator Wong said.

The new foreign minister's big challenge will be navigating a tricky relationship with China, Australia's top trading partner. "What I'd like to know from Scott is exactly what he's got in mind".

'Proof the boys-club still have a stranglehold on politics, ' Ms Hanson Young said. We may not always have agreed on policy.

Turnbull tweeted that she was "an inspiring role model for women here and around the world".

Former premier Richard Court said she had been an extraordinary foreign minister and an exemplary local member of Parliament.

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