The Shorten family as they appear in the new issue of The Weekly.
Bill Shorten is attempting to soften perceptions of his union leader image with a new family oriented photo spread in The Australian Women’s Weekly.
The Opposition Leader will grace the pages of the April issue, on sale Thursday, alongside his wife, Chloe Shorten and their three children.
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Gone is the high-vis. No sign of the pleather-sleeved bomber jacket of the Beaconsfield mine rescue days. Introducing Sophisticated Shorten, the dad-jean wearing family man, who is a stepfather to Mrs Shorten’s two older children, Georgette and Rupert, as well as a dad to their young daughter, Clementine.
Thankfully he hasn’t gone full Obama and donned his denim with sneakers. Perhaps that’s a tip he picked up from that time the ALP paid $60,000 for styling services during last year’s election campaign for the couple.
The Shortens grace the pages of the April issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly.
For the new glossy spread, the family posed inside the Botanical Gardens in Ballarat. Mrs Shorten stole the show in a silk shantung $2150 Max Mara dress and a $99.95 pair of nude Wittner heels, and all five were dressed by the magazine’s style director Mattie Cronan.
“Bill was really gracious. He kept stopping to talk, to shake hands and take photos with anyone passing by. Even when he was in the queue to get snacks for the children, he took a selfie with the local netball team,” Cronan said. “He stopped for 10 minutes during the shoot to talk to two locals walking their bulldogs, as he has two pet bulldogs.”
The corresponding feature canvasses how the Shortens are thriving as a blended family and Mrs Shorten’s impending new book – a self-help guide to step-parenting.
The couple married seven years ago when Mrs Shorten, the daughter of former governor-general Dame Quentin Bryce, was a divorced mother of two and then had to introduce a stepfather and a new baby into her older children’s lives.
“I love my job, for all the ups and downs of public life. But the hardest thing about it is being away from Chloe and the kids,” Shorten said. “Loving your kids is more important than a whole lot of the other stuff, which sometimes gets debated about families.”
The rebranding of Shorten, from chum of the CFMEU to family focused firebrand, comes at a time when the Labor leader continues to slump in the polls.
At the most recent Newspoll published by The Australian, Malcolm Turnbull has widened his gap as preferred prime minister to 43 per cent to 29 per cent.
On the eve of his family spread in Women’s Weekly hitting the stands, Shorten spent the day with students in Canberra as the Gonski showcase rolled up to Parliament House, where supporters called on the federal government to commit needs-based education funding beyond 2017.