The dark blue wedge—a size 36 Midas—was picked up by Aboriginal political activist Pat Eatock, 75 years old, but was returned to the prime minister’s office late Friday. Activist leaders had earlier threatened to keep the footwear as a symbol of poor race relations in Australia, or sell it on eBay to raise money for the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, a 40-year-old collection of tents and temporary shelters in the capital that is a focal point for indigenous people.
“The decision was taken to given the property back to the original owner,” said Ms. Eatock, who was the first Aboriginal woman in 1972 to seek election for federal government in Australia. “It was a demonstration of our good will.”
The model retails on the designer’s website at about $100. On Friday, an ad on eBay that claimed to be Ms. Gillard’s lost shoe was taken down after receiving bids of up to $2,000.
Apart from marking a lapse in the prime minister’s personal security, the demonstration and subsequent threat to Ms. Gillard has raised again the vexed but often ignored issue of Australia’s indigenous people and their battle for rights.
Source: Wall Street Journal