Mr Shorten, who is leading in the polls over Prime Minister Scott Morrison ahead of the Federal election on May 18, slammed The Daily Telegraph for claiming on its Wednesday front page he had twisted the story of his late mother Ann Shorten’s life to mislead the public.
In a tweet, Mr Shorten rebuffed The Daily Telegraph’s claim he had tried the hide the fact his mother became a barrister late in life, saying he has publicly celebrated that fact throughout his career, and as recently as two weeks ago at the launch of Labor’s women’s policy.
— Ben English (@bennyglish) May 7, 2019
“My mum passed away five years ago last month, but she’s still my biggest inspiration,” Mr Shorten tweeted on Tuesday night.
“In a new low, The Daily Telegraph 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 went on to retell how his mother Ann, who died in 2014, wanted to study law as a young woman but had to take a teaching scholarship instead to help her working-class family survive.
“I know if she had other opportunities, she could have done anything,” Mr Shorten said on Q&A.
“I can’t make it right for my mum … but I can make it right for everyone else.”
Really folks. Mrs Shorten qualified as a barrister in her late 50s!
Imagine what she could have achieved had she got to study law in her late teens?
Creating opportunities for all to achieve their potential regardless of gender or wealth should be the goal of our government.
— 💧Kym Connolly (@connollykym) May 7, 2019
You bent your mothers journey, cherry picked parts of the narrative to suit your political ambition, quite disturbing. Glad you told the full story, after a nudge. A teacher, lecturer, a barrister and a mother, a life rich with opportunity and achievement. #Auspol #Ausvotes
— perry (@skinnykat03) May 7, 2019
Mrs Shorten taught at Monash University for more than three decades and raised Mr Shorten and his brother before finally, in her late fifties, studying law and becoming a barrister.
“She finally realised her dream and qualified as a barrister in her late fifties,” Mr Shorten tweeted.
“She had a remarkable life and she felt very fortunate. But because of her financial circumstances, she didn’t get all of the opportunities she deserved.”
Mr Shorten’s almost four-minute monologue at the end of his solo appearance on Q&A was praised as an election-winning moment by many media commentators and social media users.