But more importantly, the image perfectly illustrates not just that Julia Gillard is obsessed with spin, but is so bad at it that everything screams “fake!”:
The remarkable image, on sale tomorrow in the latest Australian Women’s Weekly, was not the magazine’s idea. Instead, the concept of a cosy PM knitting a toy kangaroo – while in the company of her cavoodle Reuben – came directly from Ms Gillard’s own staff.
The Prime Minister’s chief press officer John McTernan is credited by the Weekly for coming up with the idea.
After the magazine approached Ms Gillard’s office in April for an interview, Mr McTernan responded that the PM wanted to pose for shots as she knitted a toy kangaroo for the baby of Prince William and expectant wife Catherine.
“It was a no-brainer,” Mr McTernan told the magazine…
Ms Gillard took five hours out of her schedule on May 25 to pose for the photograph at a studio in Alexandria.
Six prime ministerial staffers, including personal stylists and make-up artists, accompanied Ms Gillard to the shoot.
The PM brought several changes of outfit but ended up choosing clothes selected by Women’s Weekly…
“I think I can explain (why I’m doing it),” Ms Gillard tells the Weekly about posing for the photograph. “If there is something I hope that I’ve done for the image of women in public life is that we can go into an adversarial environment like parliament and we can dominate it and make it our own, and we can conquer it.”
Despite being an avowed republican, Gillard said she was happy to knit a royal baby’s gift…
During the actual photographic session, Ms Gillard seemed to have second thoughts. As she took her place in the armchair and took up the knitting needles, the Prime Minister told staffers: “This feels slightly absurd.”
She’s a republican knitting a present for the baby of the monarch’s grandson.
She’s a Prime Minister who has spent five hours of her day- with six staff in attendance – simply to pose with knitting needles.
She is a modern feminist posing with the tools of a domestic lifestyle of a pre-feminist era.
She uses stylists to pose in a dress that clashes violently with the chair.
She is showing she is her own woman by adopting a PR stunt dreamed up by her male PR adviser.
She is giving encouragement to young female politicians by plying a hobby now synonymous with mad old aunts.
She is showing her authenticity by spending five hours in a photographer’s studio pretending to knit.
I thought the “blue tie” speech marked the nadir of her spin. Now it’s knitting the bush kangaroo.
Tim Blair and Paul Murray react.
Women’s Weekly associate editor Caroline Overington on ABC radio this morning implied the magazine was reluctant to do a photo shoot with Gillard knitting, but was told firmly this was what the Prime Minister wanted. She said Gillard’s office last night wanted to be sent some of the photos from the shoot, but she hadn’t heard the request repeated this morning after the “negative” reaction from the media.
Overington also said the Weekly limited the spread in the magazine to just one photograph over two pages. She said the readers didn’t like the magazine getting political or pushing anyone.
There were no pictures then of Gillard knitting. No frumpy frocks. Back then the Women’s Weekly was pushing Gillard hard:
So, while we wanted to rejoice (at Gillard becoming prime minister) and while we wanted to mark the moment and support the sisterhood by celebrating her promotion, first of all, we wanted to know just a little bit more about her.
The only negative note in the whole 13-page tribute then was relegated to a couple of anodyne lines on the final page:
When asked if Craig was still married when their relationship began, Julia replies: “That’s really a set of issues between Craig and his wife that I really wouldn’t want to canvas…”
The state of Craig Emerson’s marriage at the time, specifically whether he was separated or otherwise estranged from his wife prior to starting the relationship with Julia, is not known.
When you’ve lost the Weekly’s readers, you’ve lost Australia.
Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and hosts Channel 10’s The Bolt Report each Sunday at 10am. He is also heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of radio station MTR 1377, and his book Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.