POLITICS

Kate Ellis Made A Big Career Decision, But Got Asked About Modelling

Because we're still grappling with being in the year 2017.

09/03/2017 3:12 PM AEDT | Updated 09/03/2017 3:16 PM AEDT
Alex Ellinghausen/Fairfax
Focusing on her family.

CANBERRA -- Labor's Kate Ellis has made a big deal decision.The biggest ever for a working mum. Work or family.

Her reasoning was sweet and heartbreaking and she explained after 13 years in parliament she still felt she had more to give.

Yet -- one day after International Women's Day -- a reporter asked a question related squarely to Ellis's appearance.

What was the question? Well Labor's early childcare spokeswoman was asked in the Adelaide press conference if she was going to go back to her modelling career.

To be exact: "Do you think you will return to your modelling career?"

Ellis laughed and gamely responded.

"Um, you are very kind, Mike. Either that or you are having a big laugh," she said.

"I am not sure I ever had a modelling career and even if I did, I am pretty sure that those days would be a long, long way behind me."

Yeah thanks, Mike.

To be clear, Ellis once in 2010 modelled a dress for Grazia magazine and she copped flack for it.

She was described at time lightly as the Minister for Body Image as she explained she did it to "encourage fashion magazines to promote healthy attitudes toward weight and eating".

But Ellis never had a "modelling career".

What she does have is an adorable toddler. Hence the life change, after the next election.

"I just decided that I wanted to be where my child is. I wanted to be in the same state," Ellis said.

"I want to be able to tuck him in at night. I wanted to be there when he was sick. I wanted to be there on his first day at school."

Her son Sam, with her husband David Penberthy, is two this year.

"During the next parliamentary term, he'll start school. And he'll need to be in Adelaide. And I will need to be in Canberra if I'm the member for Adelaide, and that's a really big problem for me and for our family."

Ellis acknowledges as a federal parliamentarian she has been fortunate too.

"I've been able to travel with him. I've been able to have flexibility in this role that most people don't get."

But she insists her decision is not a "gender thing".

"I have spoken to a number of my male colleagues, who find it really hard, but they have found a way," she said. "I have also spoken to a number of men who have decided not to go into Federal Parliament for these reasons.

"It is a consideration, it is what people need to balance."

She insists she would hate her legacy to be sending a message that you can't be a young woman and go into Federal Parliament.

"Ultimately, this is about what works for me and what works for my family," Ellis insisted. "I should say to any young women who are thinking about a career in politics, I would say go for it.

"If you are thinking about having a child as a member of parliament, I think you will find you will be blessed by a sort of flexibility that most people don't get."

Hopefully by then the modelling questions die down.

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