There’s one Bill you won’t find in your letterbox this election

It?s an inevitable part of every election campaign: the bombardment of our letterboxes with campaign material. Most of them tend to go straight in the bin. But Australian voters who take the time to glance at the Labor party flyers clogging up their letterboxes this election might notice a curious thing: no Bill Shorten. Quote:

Bill Shorten has been airbrushed from campaign material in at least 27 federal seats, about half of them hotly contested marginals, as Labor works to counter the Opposition Leader’s poor personal rating among voters.

Campaign material distributed by Labor candidates in nine Queensland seats ? including letters, flyers and postal voting applications ? does not contain a single mention or photograph of Mr Shorten?Instead, candidates are opting for stock images of doctors, tradies and themselves in the local area. End of quote.

Poor old no mates Bill can?t even rely on his own frontbench and closest allies. Not even in safe Labor seats. Quote:

Mr Shorten has also apparently been shunned by his own frontbench, not rating a mention by deputy leader Tanya Plibersek in Sydney, Linda Burney in Barton or Terri Butler in the marginal seat of Griffith (1.4 per cent)?Despite handpicking neurosurgeon Brian Owler, Mr Shorten does not appear in Labor?s Bennelong flyers.

A letter from Labor Senate leader Penny Wong to voters in the South Australian seat of Boothby, a Liberal seat with a margin of 2.7 per cent, references the ?united, stable Labor team? but not Mr Shorten. Instead, it has a picture of Senator Wong alongside Labor?s South Australian Senate candidates?

Labor candidate for the safe Greens seat of Melbourne Luke Creasey has not one but two photographs of himself with Ms Plibersek alongside the quote: ?If you want a better and fairer future, vote Labor for a change of government.?

Even Mr Shorten?s closest friends have left him off their campaign material. His Victorian factional ally Rob Mitchell doesn?t have a single mention or picture of him on his flyers. End of quote.


TV viewers, on the other hand, may notice an even more curious phenomenon. Quote:

Put your ear to the ground, there?s a bit of chat out there ? on the hustings, around the place ? that women don?t much like the Opposition Leader, and the reason he is so rarely seen in public without a woman by his side is that the ALP knows it. This is despite the ALP proudly being the more feminist of the two parties.

?there absolutely is a gender story on the hustings.

Shorten has surrounded himself with women, from day one. Sometimes it?s his wife, Chloe; sometimes it?s his deputy, Tanya Plibersek; sometimes it?s his ?bus captain? Kristina Keneally. Yesterday, in Boothby, he was with candidates Nadia Clancy and Emily Gore, and health spokeswoman Catherine King; in the marginal seat of Reid last week, he had King, Penny Wong, Jenny McAllister and Julie Collins by his side. End of quote.


These appearances are carefully stage-managed. If Shorten can?t be seen on the campaign trail without a ?handbag hit-squad? ? and isn?t seen at all in most of Labor?s letterboxed material ? that?s because Labor?s campaign headquarters wants it that way. They know that Shorten is not liked by voters ? he has been a consistent personal opinion-poll bottom-feeder ? and even less so by female voters.

Labor is campaigning heavily on its supposed ?gender cred?, so a crepuscular leader who particularly rubs women the wrong way is a definite problem. Small wonder that many Labor candidates would rather be seen with deputy leader Tanya Plibersek. The question remains whether voters are still angry enough about the Coalition?s Turnbull-era shenanigans to hold their noses and vote Shorten into the Lodge.