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Julia Gillard Knits Kangaroo For Royal Baby

The Australian Prime Minister is knitting a kangaroo for the royal baby which is due next month.

Julia Gillard surprised readers of Australian Women's Weekly when she revealed her unusual idea for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's first-born, suggesting it was a "cute project to work on".

She explained: "In terms of knitting for Kate's baby - I knit for babies, in part, because they are smaller projects.

"I've got not that much time in my life. You can get them done and there's a sense of satisfaction in having completed it."

The PM's press office insisted it was not just a PR opportunity even though it was they who suggested it in the first place.

[Pregnant Kate Middleton reveals she's relaxing by knitting]

"I'm keen to discuss options for an interview/photoshoot with the PM, ideally for the July edition," said an email sent in April from director of communications John McTernan to the magazine.

"As I mentioned the PM is putting together a care package for Kate Middleton, who is due in mid-July, and I was thinking this would make a great story for the magazine.

"I'm picturing a story that includes the patterns for the items the PM will knit so your readers can knit their own royal blanket or something."

The controversial PM, who ousted her predecessor Kevin Rudd in 2010, agreed to the magazine photo shoot to coincide with her third anniversary in office.

She heads the centre-left Labor Party and is predicted to lose September's general election - polls indicate the party would do better under Mr Rudd's leadership.

However, Ms Gillard insists she is not going anywhere.

[Kate Middleton's normal birth could reduce UK's caesarean rate]

She has had a hard time of it recently, having had the sexuality of her partner questioned by an Australian radio host and been the butt of a menu "joke" from an opposition party fundraiser, with friends saying she is the victim of male chauvinism.


Kate Middleton wore a pastel pink Alexander McQueen dress as she landed in Adelaide, Australia [Getty]
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Wed, Apr 23, 2014 10:00 BST