The Iron Butterfly and the Political Warrior: Mobilising models of femininity in the Australian Liberal Party

Katrina Lee-Koo, Maria Maley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and former Prime Minister Tony Abbott's Chief of Staff Peta Credlin have experienced very different political fortunes. Once the two most powerful women in the Australian Liberal Party, Credlin's political demise was mired in controversy, while Bishop continues to enjoy the support of her Party and the public. While there are many reasons for this, the article focuses on the gendered politics surrounding their experiences. Based on analysis of the media representations of Bishop and Credlin between 2011 and 2015, we argue that Bishop successfully negotiates gender politics by deploying the Iron Butterfly model of conservative femininity, while Credlin's fierce Political Warrior persona saw her pilloried.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-334
Number of pages18
JournalAustralian Journal of Political Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2017


  • Australian politics
  • feminism
  • Julie Bishop
  • models of femininity
  • Peta Credlin

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