Bill Shorten hits out at ‘new low’ from The Daily Telegraph

The federal opposition leader Bill Shorten has continued his pointed opposition to News Corp, this time voicing his disdain for a “gotcha” article about the life and career of his now-deceased mother.

The article in question was in relation to Shorten’s appearance on ABC’s Q&A program, in which he lamented his mother’s missed opportunities and praised her persistence.

Shorten spoke on the panel program about his mother’s desire to become a lawyer early on in her life, but said family structures and lack of opportunities held her back.

The News Corp publication, however, accused Shorten of skipping over key details, with the front-page headline ‘Mother of invention’, noting his mother had in fact become a lawyer later in life.

A clipping from the front page of today’s edition of The Daily Telegraph

“Far from being thwarted, she achieved her Australian dream,” said the report in The Daily Telegraph, which also included an editorial about the matter.

The paper said this “inconvenient truth” about his mother’s later successes didn’t “necessarily square with Bill Shorten’s vision of an Australia where beleaguered workers are held down by malevolent corporate masters”.

The Telegraph said Shorten wasn’t letting the facts get in the way of a good story – an accusation Shorten essentially hurled back at the paper.

The double-page spread dedicated to Shorten’s story in The Daily Telegraph

Taking to Facebook, Shorten said the political attack, and dragging in the woman who was his “biggest inspiration”, was unjustified.

“In a new low, The Daily Telegraph has decided to use my mum’s life as a political attack on me, and on her memory. They think they know more about my mum than I do,” he posted.

In a press conference, Shorten further slammed The Daily Telegraph’s “gotcha shit”, and said the whole episode was “pretty bloody lazy editorial”.

Even Andrew Bolt, himself a News Corp columnist and a vocal Shorten critic, said he understood Shorten’s anger, and was pleased The Daily Telegraph’s sister publication in Melbourne, The Herald Sun, had chosen to leave the story alone.

“I note that the Herald Sun, my employer, chose not to run this story. I support that decision,” Bolt wrote.

“I point that out not least because there is an unfortunate tendency of critics to assume that what one paper does is part of a wider “Murdoch media” campaign. It is not. What one paper does (or this case two, including the Courier Mail) is what one paper does.”

Last month, Shorten escalated his war against News Corp, taking aim at what he saw as its “scare campaigns” and biased coverage.

Shorten also used the opportunity the latest disagreement presented to pitch himself for the top job.

“Mum was never bitter. She had a remarkable life and she felt very fortunate. But because of financial circumstances, she didn’t get all of the opportunities she deserved,” he said on Facebook.

“I can’t change what happened to my mum. But I can change things for other people. And that’s why I’m in politics. That’s why I’m asking to be your Prime Minister.”


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.