When Sophie met the Prime Minister

This is a picture of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard. It’s a great photo, that captures the human, personable side of the former leader. But this isn’t just any press shot.

This picture was taken by a 12-year-old girl.

The photographer in question is the talented Miss Sophie Deane.

Sophie has Down Syndrome. On May 4, she was present when then-PM Gillard and Victorian Premier, Denis Napthine, signed the state of Victoria up for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, securing public funds for her healthcare future.

The photo soon went viral, receiving mass media coverage.

Sophie’s dad, Joel, told Mamamia:

What the image shows, for me, is a real connection between two people — my daughter and the former PM. You see, Sophie has a radar for people. She doesn’t discriminate. She can tell whether or not they’re being genuine with her; if they are she loves them right back. That what this picture is all about.

My wife Kirsten and I posted the image on Facebook and Twitter and it went viral — getting shared hundreds of times. The PM’s office asked to use the image as Julia’s official Twitter and Facebook image. We asked Sophie and she said, ‘Yes.’

A few weeks later, Julia Gillard mentioned Sophie in Parliament while talking about the NDIS — and was moved to tears. People have questioned whether or not the PM’s tears were genuine. Having seen her with Sophie, I know better.

Sophie’s beautiful image then went on to star in our Julia Gillard tribute, posted on the night that she lost the leadership of the Labor Party:

We would like to thank Sophie for sharing her wonderful photo with us.