An "unacceptable" blackface gaffe has seen one of Bill Shorten's aides quit politics, with an apology issued over a regrettable fancy dress photo.
Steve Michelson has left his post managing Mr Shorten's stakeholder relations after an image surfaced from a 2007 dress up party, featuring the now dad-of-two wearing black face paint and a curly black wig, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
"This conduct - which occurred many years ago - is clearly unacceptable, and out of character for Mr Michelson, who was a valued and diligent staff member," a spokesman for Mr Shorten said.
Mr Michelson, who originally began working with Mr Shorten six years ago during the Gillard government years, admitted the photo was a “terrible” mistake.
"I was young when this photo was taken and made a terrible decision,” he said.
“In the more than 10 years since then I've learnt why this type of behaviour is completely inappropriate.”
After speaking personally with Mr Shorten, Mr Michelson explained on Facebook he planned to spend more time with his family.
“Working with Bill Shorten and the entire Labor team has truly been a privilege however the time has come for two little kids to see a bit more of their Dad,” he said.
“I still passionately believe in the Labor Party and the union movement.
"I'm also more sure than ever before that a Shorten Labor government will do great things for everyday Australians."