Now in her 71st year, Bronwyn Bishop (MacKellar, NSW) has been in federal parliament since 1987, first as a Senator before moving to the lower house in 1994.
Coming after Hewson lost the 'unloseable election', her move to the lower house was seen as a step towards the Liberal Party leadership and achieving her ambition to become Australia's first female prime minister.
Many years ago, I was seated next to Ms Bishop at a dinner party at a private home in Sydney's eastern suburbs (don't ask).
At one point, she told me in a pleased, slightly confidential tone that she and Mrs Thatcher liked to stay in touch and enjoyed catching-up occasionally. Clearly, I was to understand by this information that they saw each other as kindred spirits.
There is no doubt that Ms Bishop's putative leadership style owed a lot, if not everything, to her admiration for Britain's "Iron Lady".
Even today, as the member for MacKellar approaches the despatch box with another citation of the standing orders you can see traces of that steely, the lady's not for turning, schtick that she hoped might allow her to crash through to the Liberal leadership, a quest that most observers saw as quixotic.
It is also a reminder that amongst all the celebration of Maggie Thatcher as a 'conviction politician', rejecting consensus, sticking to her principles against all opposition, that more often than not this style of politician is a harmless joke flapping about on the margins in a democratic polity.
Much depends on the times. Thatcher was there when the UK, like most of the Western world, was going through an episode of economic and social upheaval. In this context, her simple certainities and simplistic ideas came across to many as an island of hard rock in swirling flood waters.
Luckily, Australia went down the consensus path. Not least because Hawke and Keating could convey a sense of political strength and authoriity without prompting riots and the destruction of many communities.
Australia is a much better place because voters rejected Fraser's divisiveness. Partly, because Howard was forced into the centre and away from the ideological fringes he had tended to inhabit (until, of course, he returned to type with workchoices).
Much also depends on the issues a conviction politician chooses to fight on.
Bishop, like many such people, has been notable for a poor choice of issues to get all principled about. Including an ill-considered defence of tobacco advertising.
Abbott, a great admirer of Bishop, has been trying to play down this aspect of his political persona in recent times.
Like his other great mentor, John Howard, he knows that to be taken seriously in mainstream politics you (mostly) need to occupy the centre and be willing to consult, listen and change your position as the political winds demand.
A vietnamese proverb has it, apparently, that a man who would travel along a river must make many turns.
In office, Howard was the master of the deft u-turn.
Thatcher was the exception not the rule.