It’s been a couple of days now since the Daily Telegraph decided to publish an attack piece on Bill Shorten’s Mum, and I still can’t work out for the life of me why they thought that was a good idea.
The piece – titled “Mother Of Invention” – was published just before Mother’s Day, and accused Shorten of lying by omission when he told the story of his mum. Ann Shorten always wanted to be a lawyer, but didn’t have the means to follow that dream until later in life.
She did eventually get her law degree once her kids were at uni and she was in her late 50s, but she passed away not long after.
Shorten’s teary reply to the article has done more for him than any campaign strategist could ever have whipped up. It’s humanised him more than his daggy dad dance or famed zingers, and has given him something in common with every Australian who has ever loved their mum.
Not even Andrew Bolt supports the Daily Telegraph’s decision to run the story, which is the most conclusive evidence of an own goal I can give you.
The response from the public has been like a pressure release, with people stepping up to share the stories of their own mums by the thousands. The hashtag #MyMum started trending almost immediately on Twitter, and the stories are something to behold. The picture of a generation of women who had to give up on their own ambitions, working through the night to defeat the odds, while always putting their families first, has slowly come together. These women probably never expected their stories to be told either – let alone en masse in such a public way.
If you haven’t spent any time scrolling through the hashtag, I would highly recommend it. The stories are raw, heartfelt, and sobering. If nothing else, they should encourage you to call your mum and tell her you love her.