Julia Gillard, Australian Prime Minister, knits toy kangaroo for royal baby

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has posed on an armchair knitting a toy kangaroo for the royal baby in an upcoming spread in The Australian Women’s Weekly.

Gillard, who has been under pressure amid rumors of a leadership challenge by her predecessor Kevin Rudd, has been described by media as contradictory. 

The Fairfax media wrote that the photograph of Gillard surrounded by balls of wool and her cavoodle Reuben, "contrasts with the way the Prime Minister has presented herself in public life."

She had "has spent her career eschewing feminine cliches," the news outlet wrote, adding:

Isn't crafting, in all its forms, the hobby of the 1950s housewife? Knitting is something nannas do, right? Therefore it must be lame? I mean, it's not as if she's achieving anything, like, say, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott when he sets up his photo opportunities. He rides bikes. He volunteers for the Rural Fire Service. He strides. He is active.

The Murdoch press also criticised the photo shoot, as Gillard has recently slammed her opposition's "sexist" approach to politics.

Further, Gillard has also led calls for Australia to separate form the British monarchy and become a republic.

However, a senator from Gillard's Labour party, Louise Pratt, said the knitting scene was perfectly understandable, and no less valid than the regular instances of opposition leader Tony Abbott pictured in sporting attire.

The prime minister's office even came up with the idea, according to Women's Weekly.

Gillard did touch on politics in the interview, discussing recent criticism from within her own party that she called an election too early.

She said that despite polls showing that Labour was set for an historic defeat in the September 14 election, she had no regrets.

The political opposition seized on the publicity, with frontbencher Christopher Pyne saying:

"The Prime Minister has added to the general carnival atmosphere in this parliament with this photograph. I'm not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing. What it shows is that we know the Prime Minister is good at spinning a yarn and now we have the photographic proof of it."