The Labor leader seemed shocked as dozens of screeching teenage girls surrounded him during a visit to St Joseph’s Catholic College, East Gosford on the NSW Central Coast.
Mr Shorten visited the school in the marginal electorate of Robertson, with Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen, Senator Kristina Keneally and local Labor candidate Anne Charlton, to launch his Fair Go for the Central Coast plan.
But the girls were only interested in one person: Bill.
The excitement started as soon as Mr Shorten entered the school property, with one girl gushing to her friend “he shook my hand”, while another said: “he smiled at me”.
It was a small sign of things to come.
As Mr Shorten made his way towards the school’s quadrangle, a group of girls formed and started screaming as he came towards them.
At first the girls seemed shy, shaking Mr Shorten’s hand, excitedly taking selfies and giving him high-fives.
But there was chaos once Mr Shorten entered the quadrangle, with a huge mob of girls clambering to get close to him.
Seasoned photographers and cameramen had nothing on this group of iPhone-wielding youngsters. The media pack could only get out of the way as the girls fought to get close enough to snap a picture, or give Mr Shorten a high-five.
News.com.au asked a few of the girls in the crowd why they were so keen to see Mr Shorten.
“I don’t know, I’m just following the crowd,” one girl said, as her friends agreed.
“I want to get a high-five from a famous person.”
Another student said she had never met a politician.
“I want to sort-of ask him about his climate change policy because he’s spoken about it but not about what it actually is and that’s the world we’re going to grow up with.”
The mob was only dispersed once the bell rang and students were ordered by teachers to get to class.
Afterwards Mr Shorten addressed a small number of year 11 and 12 students and was asked about climate change and how he was going to embrace women in politics.
Mr Shorten told students he supported quotas for women and dismissed concerns about people getting positions on merit.
“Of course people should get there by merit but not everybody starts a race at the same starting spot,” he said.
He also dismissed arguments that women of merit would replace men of merit: “Spare me, you should see some of the blokes the Liberals put up.”
On climate change, Mr Shorten outlined some of his party’s policies including support for renewables, to get large companies to offset their pollution and support for electric cars.
“When many of you started school … back then we were talking about new measures to tackle climate change, and we’ve really stood still for 12 years,” Mr Shorten said.
“In your whole time at school, the politicians are still arguing like cats and dogs over what to do.
“I genuinely believe that the Liberals have to lose an election, to learn that climate change is real.”