When Ann Shorten graduated from Monash University in 1985, her twins sons Bill and Robert had just entered their first year at the same faculty.
Ann, then in her 50s, received first class honours, winning the Supreme Court Prize and the Flos Greig Memorial Prize.
It was the realisation of a lifelong dream, one she’d been forced to push aside for decades.
On Monday night, her son and Labor leader Bill Shorten spoke about his mother on ABC’s Q&A. It was her experience that drove his political career, the 51-year-old said.
"My mum came from a working class family," he said. "She was the first in our family, in the early 50s, to ever go to university… She became a teacher, but she wanted to be a lawyer. But she was the eldest in the family and needed to take the teacher scholarship to look after the rest of the kids. My mum was a brilliant woman. She wasn’t bitter. She worked here for 35 years. But I also know if she had other opportunities she could have done anything."
"I can’t make it right for my mum. And she wouldn’t want me to. But my point is this: what motivates me, if you really want to know who Bill Shorten is, I can’t make it right for my mum but I can make it right for everyone else," he added.
It was heralded as a major moment. Sydney Morning Herald columnist Neil McMahon described it as "the most powerful and personal" moment of the federal election campaign.
However, today the Daily Telegraph published a front page story accusing Shorten of deliberately leaving out parts of his mother's story on Q&A because he did not mention that Ann did go on to become a lawyer later in life.
Shorten delivered a scathing response against the newspaper, and his opponent Prime Minister Scott Morrison also condemned the article.
In a Facebook post and again during a press conference on Wednesday, Shorten once again told the story of his mother: Of her willingness to sacrifice to put her family first, the absence of bitterness facing her lot in life, her determination to fulfil her dream in her late 40s and her incredible success in doing so.