Opposition Leader Bill Shorten Sits Down With Lisa Wilkinson
Australian politics has had its fair share of drama recently, but Bill Shorten still believes in his colleagues in Canberra.
Shorten says he doesn't know what possible rumours Jobs Minister Michaelia Cash was referring to when she threatened to name "every young woman" in his office about whom, she claimed, "rumours abound".
Speaking to The Project's Lisa Wilkinson on Sunday night, Shorten shared his thoughts on the widely-criticized comments Cash made during a heated Senates Estimates hearing in February.
"I don't want to give her and her unworthy comments any oxygen. But I'll say this, it was unworthy, she should have apologized to the women in my office," Shorten said.
"Women are allowed to work in politics without being the subject of innuendo and other more powerful women should stand up for women, not denigrate them. Anyway, I think that the person who paid the biggest price for the matter was the person who uttered the remarks."
Cash made the threat to name and shame staffers in Shorten's office after Labor senator Dough Cameron repeatedly asked questions regarding her newly hired chief of staff.
"If you want to start discussing staff matters, be very, very careful," she warned.
"Because I am happy to sit here and name every young woman in Mr Shorten's office over which rumours in this place abound."
Cash withdrew the comments after Labor senator Penny Wong slammed the "outrageous slurs" against Shorten's staff.
A Family In The Public Eye
Speaking on the matter for the first time, Shorten's wife, Chloe, explained how incidents such as these have become common place for the family of a politician.
"I think that I've experienced so much in being in the family in the public eye now for long enough to just not let that in," she said.
"So, I've heard so many things that I just don't go there, I really don't I don't let myself go there, I don't let the kids go there and if they do we handle it, knock it on the head and that's it."
During the recent tell-all interview of former deputy PM Barnaby Joyce and his partner Vikki Campion, Joyce attributed the failure of his own marriage to the great deal of time he spent away from his family as a result of his job.
Despite admitting a similar struggle -- having spent a total of 50 nights away from home so far this year -- Shorten and his wife seemed at ease with the situation, joking about the politician's use of Minions GIFs when catching up with their children when away.
While the Opposition leader didn't wish to comment on the Barnaby Joyce saga, he did defend his colleagues amidst the growing perception of a dark underbelly to Canberra's political scene.
"I don't think I can add anything to any discussion involving them. I think we need to get them some breathing space," Shorten said of Joyce and Campion.
"But I will say about my parliamentary colleagues that work in Canberra, I do think they're there for the right reasons, I think they're there to make a difference."
The Top Job
With a record 66 consecutive polls with a negative approval rating, Shorten is Australia's most unpopular Opposition leader ever.
But despite this, the position of prime minister remains set in his sights.
"I don't want to be a prime minister for the job," he said.
"I want to be Prime minister to help millions of our fellow Australians have a better quality of life."