Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has revealed he has been inundated with early Christmas gifts from prominent federal Labor Party frontbencher, Anthony Albanese.
“I have been overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness Albo has shown to me in the past few weeks,” Mr Shorten told The Bug.
“Usually we don’t give each other gifts and don’t even exchange Christmas cards.
“If anything, we just personally wish each other the best for the holiday season if we bump into each other prior to Federal Parliament breaking up for the year.
“That happened earlier than usual this year in the previous sitting week when Albo literally bumped into me when I was about to descend the long flight of marble stairs leading down to the main foyer of Parliament House.
“I didn’t see him come up behind me, and Albo was most apologetic after I managed to regain my footing after stumbling down the first few top steps.”
Mr Shorten said soon after that encounter Christmas gifts from Mr Albanese started to arrive for him at his office.
“The first was a pair of in-line skates with a card from Albo encouraging me to use them instead of jogging and to go as fast as possible,” Mr Shorten said.
“He even advised against wearing any protective gear like a helmet or elbow and knee pads because they would only slow me down and he said I needed to show Australians I was a man of energy and action.
“With traffic congestion in our big cities guaranteed to be an election issue, Albo urged me to use the skates on busy roads at peak hours to draw attention to the issue.
“A day or so later I received a Segway from Albo with the same suggestion. Admittedly it wasn’t a brand new Segway.
“In fact the card Albo sent with it explained it was the actual machine the Segway company owner Jimi Heselden was riding when he died after riding off a cliff in 2010.
“In the card Albo said he was so concerned that I should have a very valuable piece of living history that he hadn’t even had the machine’s brakes fixed since the 2010 incident. He’s so very thoughtful.
“The next gifts to arrive from Albo went straight to my Melbourne home – a stack of strawberry punnets and a pet carpet snake.
“Well, Albo said it was a carpet snake but it looked like it was brown all over to me.
“Unfortunately the snake soon ate the strawberries and died. The vet said it was probably from severe internal blood loss. It’s very said, but it’s also the thought that counts.
“Then Albo flew unannounced to Melbourne because he wanted to personally polish the timber floors throughout my home as another early Christmas present.
“He especially focussed on floor areas at the top of steps and left them all very highly polished.
“After I told him I wouldn’t be able to fully appreciate his thoughtfulness because I’m rarely home, Albo presented me with something I never knew existed.
“It was a one-passenger all-you-can-fly ticket with Malaysian Airlines. I thanked him profusely but told him I wouldn’t have a chance to use it until well after the 2019 federal election.
“That’s when he broke the news of his latest Christmas gift to me. It’s a fortnight’s free stay at a Cheviot Beach holiday home near Portsea on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.
“Not only that, but he also gave me a wetsuit, snorkel, and flippers with a card saying to ignore any rough seas and just enjoy a few weeks in the water in December.
“Can nothing halt his generosity?” a clearly touched Mr Shorten said.