After weeks of mudslinging, politicians across the political spectrum put aside their differences for a night of gentle sledging, glamor and, above all, charity.
They were joined by corporate heads and journalists from around the country who braved Canberra’s cold snap for the Midwinter Ball in the Great Hall of Parliament House on Wednesday evening.
The night on the political calendar – where MPs and senators try to disprove the theory that politics is show business for ugly people and raise thousands for charity in the process – saw an array of elegant gowns, a bold statement and a unique example of ‘sandal tan’. ‘.
But the star of the evening was independent senator Jacqui Lambie, who wore a black floor-length strapless dress paired with a large silver halter necklace.
Sandal Tan: New England national team member Barnaby Joyce and his partner Vicky Campion
Journalist-turned-activist Vicky Campion shows off her ‘birkenstock tan’ while she spends time on the farm
Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters is fascinated by the electric red
Senator Waters wore an earring that read the message ‘Stop Violence Against Women’ and a badge that read ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ with the final word crossed out and the phrase ‘Held Accountable’ added.
Glam Lambie: Independent Tasmanian senator Jackie Lambie wore a black floor-length strapless dress with a large silver halter necklace
Statement piece: Labor senator Jonah Stewart (pictured) wore a flowing white dress to the annual Midwinter Ball Passage from Uluru statement on Wednesday evening – topped with a red velvet cape emblazoned with ‘YES’ in giant white letters
Black and white and red all over: Senator Stewart’s dress was draped in a paragraph from the Uluru Statement – a precursor to a referendum on Aboriginal voices in Parliament
Smiling through the pain: Anthony Albanese – who was devastated to miss the second round State of Origin match – posed in his black tie with partner Jodie Hayden, who wore a frilly, long-sleeved black dress with a gold necklace and matching hugs
Albo and Ms Haydon make their way through a sea of photographers and camera crews
Dressed in a sharp tuxedo and sporting a clip-on bowtie, Anthony Albanese smiled next to his partner Jodie Hayden, who wore a sultry, long-sleeved black dress by Zimmerman, a gold necklace and matching clutch.
The Prime Minister’s smile belied his annoyance that the glamorous duo had clashed with the second State of Origin match.
Mr Albanese had previously – half-jokingly – called the scheduling ball-up an ‘act of cruelty’.
Perhaps he will see it as a charitable deed in the cold light of day, as his beloved Blues were beaten by the Maroons for the second game in a row to hand the series to Queensland.
It was one of her Labor colleagues who stole the show at the start with an outfit that made it very clear which side she would support in the Voice to Parliament.
Senator Jonah Stewart wore a flowing one-shoulder gown covered in passages of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the word ‘Yes’, each taking 45 minutes to embroider.
Her outfit was complemented by a red velvet cape with ‘YES’ written across it in huge white letters.
‘Wearing this dress is an opportunity to wear my values and create conversation in circles that aren’t necessarily watching Parliament,’ said Senator Stewart.
The clothing designer said she wanted the statement to urge people to stop scrolling through Instagram on their tracks and research the Yes campaign.
Journalist turned political activist Vicky Campion arrives in the arms of her partner, former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.
Ms Campion cut a stylish figure in a body-hugging copper dress and showed off her visible ‘sandal tan’ after trading in Canberra for life on a farm outside Armindale with Joyce.
Dapper Dutton: Liberal leader Peter Dutton and his wife Kirill are pictured on their arrival
Suited and booted: One Nation leader Pauline Hanson arrives on the arm of a man in black tie. Ms Hanson wore a pale yellow T-shirt under a dark suit with a brooch.
Family affair: Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek wore a stylish short sleeveless black dress with her son Joe. He said: ‘I’m sure I’ve got the best date this year called Midwinter’
Hatter Catter: Independent member of Kennedy Bob Cater looked dapper in his signature cowboy hat with a purple scarf draped over his shoulders.
Admirers took to social media to praise Senator Lambie’s outfit, with one simply writing: ‘Absolutely beautiful’
Lady in Red: Independent member for Fola Dai Lei wows in a floor-length red dress
Sealed with a kiss: Aged Care Minister Annika Wells and husband Finn McGrath plant a smooch as they arrive at Parliament House
Kneeling: Liberal Member for Lindsay Melissa Mackintosh, Liberal Member for Durack Melissa Price strikes a pose, Deputy Leader of the Opposition Susan Ley and Liberal Member for Flinders Joe McKenzie arrive for the 2023 Midwinter Ball at Parliament House in Canberra
Meanwhile, independent Tasmanian senator and former army corporal Ms Lambie stunned in her ballgown, with fans taking to social media to praise her outfit.
One simply wrote: ‘Absolutely beautiful’.
Another said: ‘I didn’t recognize Jackie Lambie.’
Senator Lambie was seen rubbing shoulders with Deputy Liberal Leader Susan Ley, with both women posing hand-in-hand for the cameras.
Tanya Plibersek brings her teenage son Joseph as her date, the tall teenager towering over her as they arrive to do the big thing.
He wrote on Twitter, ‘I’m sure I’ve got the best date this year called Midwinter.
Black was the shade of choice for many but some took the opportunity to add a splash of color.
Aged Care and Sport Minister Annika Wells wore a rented pastel ombre frock, while Queensland Greens senator Larissa Waters rocked electric red.
Senator Waters wore a badge with earrings that read ‘Stop Violence Against Women’ and a badge that read ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ with the final words crossed out and the phrase ‘Held Accountable’ added.
This year’s theme was Great Southern Lands and the decorations in the halls – as well as a few costumes – paid tribute.
Independent member of Kennedy Bob Katter looked even better in his signature cowboy hat with a purple scarf draped over his shoulders.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton arrived with his wife Kirill Dutton who wore a midnight blue dress with a shiny blazer.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers and his journalist wife Laura who wore an elegant floral dress with a soft pink hugger
Veterans Affairs Minister Matt Keogh and wife Annabelle were smiling from ear to ear before the ceremony
Indie singles Helen Haines and her husband Phil Haines are black dons for a romantic relationship
LADY IN RED: Labor Senator Jana Stewart and husband Marcus Stewart pose on the steps inside Parliament House
Under-fire Minister for Finance Katy Gallagher flashed a smile as she arrived with Agriculture Minister Murray Watt in a black floor-length sheer dress.
Her triumphant smile was a world away from last week when she was almost brought to tears in Parliament amid an onslaught of Liberal criticism and questions about Britney Higgins’ sexual assault allegations.
Pauline Hanson was one of the few women who opted for a suit, paired with a pale yellow top and brooch.
Senator Stewart’s dress, which was designed by Indigenous social enterprise Clothing the Gaps, took a team of four to help her put it on.
Laura Thompson, co-founder of clothing outfit The Gaps, was Senator Stewart’s plus one and would help carry the long train of clothing.
‘Jana and her outfit will stop people on their Instagram scroll,’ Ms Thompson told Nine newspaper.
‘Hopefully, then people will decide to learn more (about the Voice).’
Senator Stewart apparently took inspiration from last year where Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young arrived wearing a long white dress with ‘End Gas and Coal’ written on the back – a direct criticism of 2022 sponsors Shell and Woodside Energy.
Greens MP Adam Band, and his partner Claudia Perkins also caused a stir last year, the first held since 2019 due to Covid.
Pink lady: Foreign Minister Penny Wong (left) poses with Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles (right) and her daughter Isabella (centre) who looked radiant in a floral pink dress
A true Scot? Australian Resources Minister Madeleine King and husband Jamie King arrive at Parliament House during the 2023 Midwinter Ball
Trade Minister Don Farrell and wife dazzled at the Midwinter Ball
Mrs Perkins’ white dress was emblazoned with ‘Coal Kill and ‘Gas Kill” in black and red.
The messages were thought to be inspired by 2021 by US Senator Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who wore a striking white dress with the words ‘Tax the Rich’ written on it.
This year, however, Senator Hanson-Young kept it controversial in a shimmering brown and gold dress with her husband, Ben Oquist, who wore a navy suit and black bow tie.
The Midwinter Ball raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for various charities each year, with last year’s event raising $350,000.
which was split between Rural Aid Australia, Oatharvest, Fearless Women, Roundabout Canberra, Pink Elephants and Ukraine, the Ukrainian Crisis Appeal.
Some $362,000 has been raised for charity this year so far.
Notable absences were Coalition senator Jacinta Price and independent senator Lydia Thorpe, who last year walked down the marble steps in blue jeans and an Aboriginal flag T-shirt repeatedly shouting ‘fossil idiot’ and extending her middle fingers to the assembled guests.
Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen also skipped the event.
Read Full News Here