Bill Shorten is a guy who has attracted nicknames all his life. Being a Bill helps, but being him is the clincher. I found 16 from university to now, but my dream is to have ready down the track the complete list. Can Crikey readers help? Fresh inventions won’t be rejected out of hand, but what was he called at school, at Monash, in the union, in the factions, in Parliament, round the traps? Here’s what we have so far:

Monash University

I Finally Won Something Shorten — Lot’s Wife, 1987

Bill “Career-Move” Shorten — Lot’s Wife, 1987


Golden Boy — his staff, 2001

Bye Bye Bill — factional opponents, 2002

King Billy — workers, Nonferral Pty Ltd, 2005

Showbag Shorten — AWU, by 2005

The ET of Spring Street — Bob Sercombe, ousted Member for Maribyrnong, 2005

Little Billy Shorten — Mark Latham, 2005

Braveheart — factional foes, 2006


Bill the Knife — various, July 2013


Electricity Bill — Tony Abbott, October 2013

The Prince of Darkness — Kathy Jackson, 2014

Adora-Bill — his staff, early 2014

Mr Potato Head — Christopher Pyne, March 2014

Bull Shittin — Derryn Hinch, April 2014

Barnacle Bill — Tony Abbott, November 2014

*This is an extract from David Marr’s Quarterly Essay on Shorten, “Faction Man”