Julie Bishop has fondly reflected on a tense situation she previously found herself in while serving as Australia’s Foreign Minister.

She revealed how her loose connection to Shane Warne helped her negotiate with a gang in Zimbabwe.

Speaking on The Project, Bishop praised Warne as a “reflection of the great Aussie character” and a “loveable larrikin” who captured the hearts of millions.

“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 Shane 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.”

Image: Getty Images

This article first appeared on OverSixty.