The Project: Julie Bishop recalls the moment Shane Warne got her out of a sticky situation

Julie Bishop has recalled the moment Shane Warne was her “lifeline” in a sticky situation while guest appearing on a new-look Project panel.

Julie Bishop has reflected on a tense situation she found her self in while serving as Australia’s Foreign Minister, revealing how her loose connection to Shane Warne helped her negotiate with a gang in Zimbabwe.

Speaking on The Project in the show’s temporary Perth studio, Bishop praised Warne as a “reflection of the great Aussie character” and a “loveable larrikin” who captured the hearts and minds of millions across the globe.

“I remember years ago I was an electoral observer in Zimbabwe during a terrible time in their history and President Mugabe was standing for election and we were in the mountains,” she said.

“It was the most rural, isolated part of Zimbabwe and there were some war veterans that had taken over a commercial farm and it was pretty scary but I had to interview them about the election and the leader of this gang.

“They were kind of like bikies and no teeth and everything and chains around their neck and I was asking them how they would vote in the upcoming election and the leader, he was glaring at me and he said, you’re British and I thought , here is my moment and I said, no, I’m Australian, and he looked at me and the others and said, ‘Shane Warne!’”.

Bishop said the connection to Warne eased the waters in the otherwise tense situation, admitting she “never been so relieved to hear Shane Warne’s name as I was then”.

“He was my lifeline and apparently Warnie had played in Zimbabwe during the 90s and everybody there just fell in love with the great man,” he said.

“So his impact is way beyond Australia and I found time and time again that people would raise Shane Warne as part of the great Australian character.”

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed a state memorial for the cricketing icon will be held at the MCG on the evening of March 30.

The event has been opened to tens of thousands of members of the public, following Warne’s private funeral this week which was attended by the former leggie’s closest friends and family.

The free tickets to the event were made available at 3pm AEDT Tuesday, with several thousand disappearing instantly. Only a handful remain in scattered sections at the time of writing.

A cluster of Australian cricket icons arrived at Warne’s beloved St Kilda Football Club for his invitation-only funeral earlier this week, including Victorian seamer Merv Hughes, former Test captain Mark Taylor, batting great Mark Waugh and former wicketkeeper Ian Healy.

Close mates Eddie McGuire and Michael Clarke, former fast bowler Brendon Julian and partner in crime Glenn McGrath were also in attendance.

“He brought together so many things,” Eddie McGuire told reporters outside the venue, as reported by The Herald Sun.

“The reason why he was so loved is because he was fallible, he was Superman. You threw the ball to Warne, you sat in that Southern Stand and he did the things you dream of doing as a kid.”


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