As some Liberal women have grown to understand that Liberal men without merit are still being rewarded, they’ve lost their anti-quota fervour

Other than the woman herself, no one knows for sure why Julie Bishop strode into that press conference wearing those striking red shoes to sign off as Australia’s first female foreign minister. Perhaps Bishop’s only intent was to cheer herself up. She’d mentioned in the past that donning a pair of scarlet heels could raise a woman’s spirits. And who would begrudge her such a small act of self-comfort if it was what she needed? Just days before, Australia’s most popular politician had been very publicly snubbed by colleagues when she ran for the Liberal party’s leadership.

Following Bishop’s press conference, Fairfax’s award-winning photographer Alex Ellinghausen posted an unconventional shot of the event on Twitter. The angle was all scarlet heels blazing before the dark masculine suits and shoes of the assembled media. The image flew around the Twittersphere, swiftly symbolising what Bishop’s treatment revealed about the Liberal party: its merit system had been exposed as a sham.

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Read More The Liberal party merit myth, and why it’s every man (or woman) for themselves | Paula Matthewson

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