Worshippers at St Andrew’s, Indooroopilly had a surprise visitor on Easter Sunday with Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten attending the service.
Mr Shorten’s parents-in-law, former Governor-General Dame Quentin Bryce and her husband Michael Bryce, have been parishioners at St Andrew’s for several years. They joined Mr Shorten, his wife Chloe, and other family members at the 9.30am service.
Their arrival was preceded by a media contingent travelling with the Opposition Leader as part of the election campaign, who were transported by bus to the church.
While there was a gentleman’s agreement between Mr Shorten and Prime Minister Scott Morrison not to formally campaign on Easter Sunday, cameras and photographers were allowed to film Mr Shorten’s arrival and morning tea with parishioners after the service. No cameras were permitted in the church during the service, a decision agreed upon by Mr Shorten’s team and parish priest The Rev’d Suzanne Wilton.
The Rev’d Wilton said she was initially surprised when she received an approach late last week from Mr Shorten’s office. An advance party of security and advisers, who wanted to inspect the church, arrived on Good Friday ahead of the service – a standard part of the process for political leaders, especially during election campaigns.
“There is an obvious existing connection with Dame Quentin Bryce and her husband, Michael who are long-standing and valued members of our parish,” The Rev’d Wilton said.
“Mr Shorten and his family were welcome to share in worship and celebrate this holiest of days with our congregation, just as anyone else would be, regardless of whether they are a public figure, or someone unknown – of one side of politics or the other. Easter Day is a day of joy and celebration for all.”
Mr and Mrs Shorten and family sat in the middle of the church and later mingled comfortably with parishioners for half an hour after the service over morning tea.
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