Spouse or partner of the prime minister of Australia
Incumbent
Jodie Haydon
since 23 May 2022
ResidenceThe Lodge (primary)
Kirribilli House (secondary)
Inaugural holderJane Barton
Formation1 January 1901

The spouse or partner of the prime minister of Australia is generally a high-profile individual who assists the prime minister with ceremonial duties as well as performing various other functions.

With a few exceptions, the prime minister's spouse has been a public figure and the subject of media interest. Most have used the position to promote charitable causes. By convention, the spouse of the prime minister serves as the host of The Lodge and Kirribilli House, the official residences of the prime minister, and also assists the prime minister in welcoming foreign dignitaries to Parliament House and various other locations during ceremonial events. However, the position is unpaid and there are no official responsibilities.

Spouses often assist the prime minister at campaign events. However, only two prime ministers' spouses have held public office in their own right – Enid Lyons became the first woman elected to the House of Representatives several years after her husband's death in office, while Lucy Turnbull was Lord Mayor of Sydney over a decade before her husband became prime minister. Ethel Page held senior offices in the organisational wing of the Country Party.

The current prime minister, Anthony Albanese, is divorced; he has a partner, Jodie Haydon,[1][2][3] who lives in her own home in Sydney.[4][5] Albanese is the first divorcee to be appointed prime minister.[6]

All prime ministers except John McEwen, Julia Gillard and Albanese were married for the duration of their term in office. McEwen was a widower during his short term; Gillard was in a domestic partnership with Tim Mathieson.

Until relatively recently it was uncommon for the spouse of a prime minister to have their own career. Zara Holt, a fashion designer, was the first to continue her career during her husband's term in office, and reputedly earned more money than him. Other businesswomen to hold the position have included Thérèse Rein, who ran an employment services company, and Margie Abbott, who ran a childcare centre. Bettina Gorton was an academic who lectured part-time at the Australian National University.

Role

Dame Mary Hughes and Dame Enid Lyons (pictured together in 1955) are among the longest-serving prime ministers' wives, both holding the position for more than seven years
Dame Mary Hughes and Dame Enid Lyons (pictured together in 1955) are among the longest-serving prime ministers' wives, both holding the position for more than seven years

The prime minister's spouse has no official duties. Some earlier spouses stayed mainly at home and took little part in public life.[7] Although a prime minister's spouse may be unofficially referred to as Australia's "first lady" or "first bloke",[a] a spouse does not receive a staff or official budget.[11]

However, most recent prime ministers' spouses have been involved in charities or community organisations, working to raise public awareness, funds, and support for a range of causes. They generally assist their partners in political campaigns, and participate in official duties that come with the position, such as hosting foreign dignitaries, and, in particular, entertaining the spouses of dignitaries; accompanying the prime ministers on national and international trips; attending conferences and functions; and speaking in public, particularly in the prime minister's constituency.[12] They have attended the opening of Parliament; hosted visitors at The Lodge and Kirribilli House; visited Buckingham Palace, the White House, or the Japanese Imperial Palace; and been present at royal coronations and conferences.[12]

Others were initially preoccupied with rearing children, most notably Dame Enid Lyons (1932–39), who had 12 children (one died in infancy). In 1943, four years after her husband's death in office, she was the first woman to be elected to the House of Representatives. She was a junior minister in the Menzies Government from 1949 to 1951.

Official recognition

Some prime ministers' spouses have received official recognition for their services to the community:

Tamie Fraser was the first spouse of a prime minister to be provided with an official secretary for dealing with her correspondence.[15]

List of spouses or partners

No. Portrait Spouse Tenure Length of tenure Prime Minister
1
Jane Barton 1902 crop.jpg
Jane Barton
11 June 1851 – 23 March 1938
(aged 86)
1 January 1901

24 September 1903
2 years, 8 months and 23 days Barton
m. 1877
2
Portrait of Pattie Deakin
Pattie Deakin
1 January 1863 – 30 December 1934
(aged 71)
24 September 1903

27 April 1904
7 months and 3 days Deakin
m. 1882
3
No image.svg
Ada Watson
4 February 1855 – 19 July 1921
(aged 66)
27 April 1904

18 August 1904
3 months and 22 days Watson
m. 1889
4
Portrait of Flora Reid
Flora Reid
10 November 1876 – 1 September 1950
(aged 82)
18 August 1904

5 July 1905
10 months and 17 days Reid
m. 1891
(2)
Portrait of Pattie Deakin
Pattie Deakin
1 January 1863 – 30 December 1934
(aged 71)
5 July 1905

13 November 1908
3 years, 4 months and 8 days Deakin
m. 1882
5
Portrait of Margaret Fisher
Margaret Fisher
4 July 1874 – 15 June 1958
(aged 83)
13 November 1908

2 June 1909
6 months and 20 days Fisher
m. 1901
(2)
Portrait of Pattie Deakin
Pattie Deakin
1 January 1863 – 30 December 1934
(aged 71)
2 June 1909

29 April 1910
10 months and 27 days Deakin
m. 1882
(5)
Portrait of Margaret Fisher
Margaret Fisher
1874 – 15 June 1958
(aged 83–84)
29 April 1910

24 June 1913
3 years, 1 month and 26 days Fisher
m. 1901
6
Portrait of Mary Cook
Mary Cook
1863 – 24 September 1950
(aged 86–87)
24 June 1913

17 September 1914
1 year, 2 months and 24 days Cook
m. 1885
(5)
Portrait of Margaret Fisher
Margaret Fisher
1874 – 15 June 1958
(aged 83–84)
17 September 1914

27 October 1915
1 year, 1 month and 10 days Fisher
m. 1901
7
Portrait of Mary Hughes
Mary Hughes
6 June 1874 – 2 April 1958
(aged 83)
27 October 1915

9 February 1923
7 years, 3 months and 13 days Hughes
m. 1911
8
Ethel Bruce
Ethel Bruce
25 May 1879 – 16 March 1967
(aged 88)
9 February 1923

22 March 1929
6 years, 1 month and 13 days Bruce
m. 1913
9
Sarah Scullin
Sarah Scullin
21 April 1880 – 31 May 1962
(aged 82)
22 March 1929

6 January 1932
2 years, 9 months and 15 days Scullin
m. 1907
10
Portrait of Enid Lyons
Enid Lyons
GBE
19 July 1897 – 2 September 1981
(aged 84)
6 January 1932

7 April 1939
7 years, 3 months and 1 day Lyons
m. 1915
11
Portrait of Ethel Page
Ethel Page
20 September 1875 – 26 May 1958
(aged 82)
7 April 1939

26 April 1939
19 days Page
m. 1906
12
Portrait of Pattie Menzies
Pattie Menzies
2 March 1899 – 30 August 1995
(aged 96)
26 April 1939

29 August 1941
2 years, 4 months and 3 days Menzies
m. 1920
13
Ilma Fadden
Ilma Fadden
2 April 1895[16] – 14 May 1987
(aged 92)
29 August 1941

7 October 1941
1 month and 8 days Fadden
m. 1916
14
Portrait of Elsie Curtin
Elsie Curtin
4 October 1890 – 24 June 1975
(aged 84)
7 October 1941

5 July 1945
3 years, 8 months and 28 days Curtin
m. 1921
15
No image.svg
Veronica Forde
31 December 1894 – 9 November 1967
(aged 72)
5 July 1945

13 July 1945
8 days Forde
m. 1925
16
Portrait of Lizzie Chifley
Elizabeth Chifley
1 August 1886 – 9 September 1962
(aged 76)
13 July 1945

19 December 1949
4 years, 5 months and 6 days Chifley
m. 1914
(12)
Pattie Menzies 1963.jpg
Pattie Menzies
GBE
2 March 1899 – 30 August 1995
(aged 96)
19 December 1949

26 January 1966
16 years, 1 month and 7 days Menzies
m. 1920
17
Portrait of Zara Holt
Zara Holt
10 March 1909 – 14 June 1989
(aged 80)
26 January 1966

17 December 1967
1 year, 10 months and 21 days Holt
m. 1947
01.1 None 17 December 1967

10 January 1968
24 days McEwen
Widower
18
Portrait of Bettina Gorton
Bettina Gorton
23 June 1915 – 2 October 1983
(aged 68)
10 January 1968

10 March 1971
3 years and 2 months Gorton
m. 1935
19
Portrait of Sonia McMahon
Sonia McMahon
1 August 1932 – 2 April 2010
(aged 77)
10 March 1971

5 December 1972
1 year, 8 months and 25 days McMahon
m. 1965
20
Margaret Whitlam 1954.jpg
Margaret Whitlam
19 November 1919 – 17 March 2012
(aged 92)
5 December 1972

11 November 1975
2 years, 11 months and 6 days Whitlam
m. 1942
21
Portrait of Tamie Fraser
Tamie Fraser
28 February 1936
(aged 87)
11 November 1975

5 March 1983
7 years, 3 months and 22 days Fraser
m. 1956
22
Portrait of Hazel Hawke
Hazel Hawke
20 July 1929 – 23 May 2013
(aged 83)
5 March 1983

20 December 1991
8 years, 9 months and 15 days Hawke
m. 1956
23
Annita Keating.jpg
Annita Keating
5 October 1948
(aged 74)
20 December 1991

11 March 1996
4 years, 2 months and 20 days Keating
m. 1975
24
Portrait of Janette Howard
Janette Howard
11 August 1944
(aged 78)
11 March 1996

3 December 2007
11 years, 8 months and 22 days Howard
m. 1971
25
Portrait of Thérèse Rein
Thérèse Rein
17 July 1958
(aged 64)
3 December 2007

24 June 2010
2 years, 6 months and 21 days Rudd
m. 1981
26
Portrait of Tim Mathieson (with Julia Gillard)
Tim Mathieson
1957
(aged 65–66)
24 June 2010

27 June 2013
3 years and 3 days Gillard
domestic partner
(25)
Portrait of Thérèse Rein
Thérèse Rein
17 July 1958
(aged 64)
27 June 2013

18 September 2013
2 months and 22 days Rudd
m. 1981
27
Portrait of Margie Abbott
Margie Abbott
1 February 1958
(aged 65)
18 September 2013

15 September 2015
1 year, 11 months and 28 days Abbott
m. 1988
28
Portrait of Lucy Turnbull
Lucy Turnbull
AO
30 March 1958
(aged 65)
15 September 2015

24 August 2018
2 years, 11 months and 9 days Turnbull
m. 1980
29
Portrait of Jenny Morrison
Jenny Morrison
8 January 1968
(aged 55)
24 August 2018

23 May 2022
3 years, 8 months and 29 days Morrison
m. 1989
30
No image.svg
Jodie Haydon
1979
(aged 43–44)
23 May 2022

Incumbent
1 year and 9 days[b] Albanese
partner

Others

A number of prime ministers have remarried after leaving office or had marriages that ended before taking office.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The only male (as of March 2020), Tim Mathieson, was sometimes referred to as the "first bloke".[8][9][10]
  2. ^ As of 1 June 2023

References

  1. ^ Curtis, Katina (28 June 2022). "Albanese's partner steps onto international stage in Madrid". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 17 July 2022.
  2. ^ "Albanese, partner join Spanish royalty". 7NEWS. 29 June 2022. Retrieved 17 July 2022.
  3. ^ "Moment Anthony Albanese's partner Jodie Haydon 'overwhelmed' with fear". news.com.au. 10 July 2022. Retrieved 17 July 2022.
  4. ^ "After a shock split from his wife, Anthony Albanese has finally moved on". New Idea. Retrieved 17 July 2022.
  5. ^ Curtis, Katina (28 June 2022). "Albanese's partner steps onto international stage in Madrid". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 July 2022.
  6. ^ "How Jodie Haydon met Anthony Albanese". News.com.au. 23 May 2022. Retrieved 17 July 2022.
  7. ^ "Elizabeth Chifley". Australia's Prime Ministers. National Archives of Australia. Archived from the original on 20 July 2008. Retrieved 30 July 2008.
  8. ^ Harris, Talek (25 June 2010). "Beer-swilling hairdresser is Australia's 'First Bloke'". Agence France-Presse. Retrieved 26 June 2010.
  9. ^ "First Bloke Tim Mathieson apologises for prostate joke 'in poor taste'". The Australian. 28 September 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  10. ^ Walsh, Kerry-Anne; Benns, Matthew (27 June 2010). "First bloke is a man's man". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
  11. ^ Visentin, Lisa (25 August 2018). "Jenny Morrison, Australia's new first lady". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  12. ^ a b "National Hostess". Mrs Prime Minister—Public Image, Private Lives: Travelling exhibition. Old Parliament House (Commonwealth of Australia: Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts). Retrieved 30 July 2008.
  13. ^ "Deakin, Elizabeth Martha Anne (Pattie) (1863 - 1934)". Australian Women's Register. Retrieved 13 August 2022.
  14. ^ "Alfred Deakin's partner: Pattie Deakin". Australia’s Prime Ministers. National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 13 August 2022.
  15. ^ "Tamie Fraser". Australia's Prime Ministers. National Archives of Australia. Archived from the original on 20 July 2008. Retrieved 30 July 2008.
  16. ^ "Ilma Nita Thornber". FamilySearch. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Further reading