Politicians and their partners turned out in all their finery at Wednesday night’s Mid Winter Ball at Parliament House in Canberra, proving they’re just as comfortable in a tux or gown as they are in Question Time.
Diamonds, stock whips and Akubras were on show at the annual Press Gallery event, which auctions various exclusive experiences to raise money for several different charities.
Prizes included a business-class trip for two to Los Angeles, including a night out with Julie Bishop, afternoon tea with Malcolm Turnbull at The Lodge or “a quiet bottle of wine and a chat at Parliament House” with Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek.
Journalists, influential businesspeople and politicians are invited to the event, which this year saw Eurovision star Dami Im perform.
Deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce arrived wearing a tuxedo with his trademark headgear, an broad-brimmed Akubra, and cracked the whip – quite literally – in the foyer of the Great Hall. His wife Natalie joined him in an elegant black column gown.
Julie Bishop wore a glittering gown by Australian designer Rachel Gilbert and was accompanied by her partner, entrepreneur David Panton.
The gown, from the designer’s Spring/Summer 2016 collection, costs an estimated $36,510.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson flashed some leg in a burgundy gown, prompting Sunrise sports reporter Mark Beretta to question whether the event was “turning into the Brownlow red carpet”.
Ms Hanson’s date was Queensland zookeeper Kieron Smedley.
Also choosing burgundy was Bill Shorten’s wife Chloe, who stunned in a one-shouldered, wine-hued gown.
By contrast, Lucy Turnbull opted for a far simpler look, pairing a long embellished skirt with a black blazer.
The self-described “queen of Sky News” Peta Credlin braved the Canberra chill in a chic peplum gown alongside her husband of 15 years, Brian Loughnane.
Shadow Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese and his wife, Carmel Tebbutt, stuck to black and white.