Joanita Wibowo


Thu, 9 May, 2019

Bill Shorten vs Scott Morrison: Body language expert’s verdict on who is "more genuine"

Bill Shorten vs Scott Morrison: Body language expert’s verdict on who is "more genuine"

Labor leader Bill Shorten appeared more genuine and unscripted than his competitor, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, in the final leaders’ debate last night, a body language and speech expert has said.

Ahead of the National Press Club debate Wednesday night in Canberra, Shorten had teared up during a press conference when talking about a Daily Telegraph story on his mother.

According to body language expert Michael Kelly, the emotional moment was carried over to the debate, which played in Shorten’s favour. 

“The reason why I gave it to Shorten, he was emotional speaking about his mother [earlier in the day] and I think it unlocked the strait jacket,” he told

“We saw him more statesman-like, that we haven’t seen before. He improved throughout.”

Kelly said one of Shorten’s key moments of the night included his statement on what he wants Australia to look like in 10 years. 

“I want my kids to grow up in 2030 and see a more modern Australia… I want to see the young women in my family, my daughters, being paid the same as my son.”

Shorten’s honest comment on the controversy surrounding Israel Folau’s homophobic social media posts could also be considered a win, Kelly said. 

“I don't know if hell exists actually,” Shorten said during the debate. “But I don’t think if it does that being gay is what sends you there.”

However, the Labor leader still made some mistakes, including slouching and crossing his legs.

According to Kelly, Morrison also performed well throughout the night by making personal connections. However, he notably interrupted moderator Sabra Lane. 

“He tends to be a bit of a bully,” said Kelly. “When he doesn’t like how things are going, he tends to get aggressive.”

The two leaders’ performance could be seen as an improvement from previous debates, when viewers described them as “stressed” and “insecure”.

Body language expert Dr Louise Mahler told News Corp that both leaders were “faking it to make it” on the first debate in April and “tired, less energised, less aggressive and less differentiated” during the second one earlier this month.