The picture of Prime Minister Scott Morrison wearing poorly-Photoshopped shoes was uploaded to his official website by mistake, the department responsible said.
After Twitter users mocked the Prime Minister for the Photoshopped white trainers, including a left shoe on Mr Morrison's right foot, the Prime Minister tweeted that the photo had come from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, not his own staff.
"Message to my Department (PM&C;): I didn’t ask for the shoeshine, but if you must Photoshop, please focus on the hair (lack thereof), not the feet," Mr Morrison tweeted.
A spokesman for Prime Minister and Cabinet explained how the odd shoes ended up on the PM's website.
"The decision was made by an officer in the graphic design team in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in developing design options for the Prime Minister’s Christmas card," the spokesman said, confirming just one staff member was involved in the decision to alter the appearance of the shoes.
The spokesman didn't explain why the graphic designer thought the shoes needed to be changed.
"The work was part of preliminary exploration of design concepts. The photo in question was not put forward for consideration by the Prime Minister’s Office," the spokesman said.
The photo wasn't intended to be used on the website, and was "inadvertently published by the department, which manages pm.gov.au on behalf of the Prime Minister".
The department replaced the image with the original on Tuesday night when the error was brought to its attention, the spokesman said.
The Canberra Times asked if it was standard practice for images of prime ministers to be subject to Photoshop treatment, to which the spokesman said "Photoshop has never been used to change the context or substance of images".