The Northern Territory news Sat 16 Apr 2022
The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT
Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.
News Corp Australia
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News Corp Australia
28 WEEKEND Saturday April 16 2022 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 For the first few months, Jodie Haydon thought life was pretty normal or as normal as it could be under Covid restrictions.She had quietly begun dating federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese in late 2019, and the pair spent lockdown getting to know each other away from public scrutiny. They hung out together at home in Sydney, cooking, bingeing on TV shows such as Ted Lasso and Mare of Easttown, and learning each others music tastes anything on Triple J for him, The Who and Bruce Springsteen for her. For Haydon, now 43, it was a chance to see whether this relationship, her first in years, was one she wanted to pursue. Albanese, now 59, was also taking things slowly, still processing the sudden breakdown of his 30-year relationship (19 of those years married) with former NSW deputy premier Carmel Tebbutt, on January 1 that year. They have a son, Nathan, 21. We were in a bit of a bubble, Haydon says of those quiet few months in early 2020. It might be naive on my part but I think because we had that time together during Covid we were going under the radar and I cherished that time and I think we needed that to build the foundation for a relationship. I probably in some respects went into it with a false sense of security that I was in a really normal relationship and it wasnt until we were photographed that I realised, yeah, this is going to be very different. In June 2020, with lockdowns and border closures lifting, Haydon and Albanese were photographed on a dinner date at China Doll restaurant at Woolloomooloo. The photos appeared a few days later in the Sunday Telegraph. The relationship, previously known only to Haydons close friends and family, and some of Albaneses Labor colleagues and confidantes, was suddenly public. Haydon had never been in the newspaper before. While they were comfortable with the story which later appeared, the whole experience was a confronting one for Haydon, who had to call her boss and tell her a story was about to appear about her relationship. They also had to tell her parents that photographs were about to be published of the pair kissing at a restaurant. Im actually a private person by nature, Haydon says. I dont think any ordinary person like me who has never had a public profile really knows how to prepare for that. But I had Anthony, who is really protective of me and reassuring, which Im grateful for. Haydon will not feature in Albaneses election advertising. She is travelling with him occasionally but will not be campaigning. The pair have agreed reluctantly to conduct their first and only detailed interview together because they accept there is legitimate public interest in the alternative prime minister and his relationship. Haydon has previously given only a careful few words to a magazine. She intends to stay out of politics as best she can and will not be commenting on policies nor offering political critiques. Anthony is the one here who is running for political office, its not me, she says. My job will be to focus on my day job and allow Anthony to focus on his. Haydon has had a 20-year career in the superannuation industry, and recently started a new role advocating for women in the workplace. She has lived and worked in Sydney and Melbourne, has a strong network of friends and professional colleagues, and an independent, established identity of her own. But now she is also the partner of the man seeking to be Australias next prime minister. If Albanese wins, she will be Australias equivalent to the US First Lady. So would she move with Albanese into ways that Labor values aligned with our family values. Haydon laughs recalling telling her grandmother that she was about to appear in the newspapers with Albanese. Look, my grandmother who is a lifelong Labor voter was probably worried about her eldest granddaughter whod never married and had no children, well I made up for it all in one go by ending up with the leader of the Labor Party. Im forgiven! Ive probably gone to number one in the ranking now out of her near 30 grandchildren, she says. Haydon votes Labor, has been a member of the ALP on and off since her 30s, but says shes never been actively involved in the party. I have always been interested in politics but probably been more of a couch critic than anything. Ive followed it, read newspapers, watched current affairs programs. She has also handed out howto-vote cards on behalf of the union movement, which she was involved in through her work in superannuation. Albanese finds it amusing she would have handed out how-to-vote cards for him. Its quite funny, before we even met, he says. How Albanese and Haydon met has been well-reported he was the keynote speaker at a national union conference at a hotel in Melbourne in late 2019. She was attending through her work as strategic partnership manager of industry superannuation fund First State Super. The MC introduced Albanese with a quick sledge about his support for the South Sydney Rabbitohs; and when Albanese referenced the social media hashtag RandomSouthsGuy, Haydon yelled out, up the Rabbitohs. Albanese later introduced himself to the only other Souths supporter in the room, and they went their separate ways. However, in the way of modern romance, there were other connections Albanese discovered Haydon was one of the people he already followed on Twitter. He tried to follow everyone from his electorate who followed him on all social media platforms. He discovered the connection when Haydon sent him a direct message (DM). I slid into his DMs, Haydon admits cheerfully, saying she pointed out some of their mutual interests and similarities, such as living in the same electorate and their support of South Sydney. Also, they were both single. He had a public profile and I didnt, so I knew that we both followed the same footy team, we both had a love for the inner west and I think I said in that direct message, Hey, were both single. In some ways I think I said that just more so that he would feel comfortable in my company. The pair met again coincidentally at another work function at NSW Trades Hall. As is well known, Albanese later asked her to meet him at the hipster craft brewery Young Henrys, in Newtown, for a beer. What is not well known is that Haydon was less than impressed when she walked in and discovered Albanese surrounded by a group of large, hairy men. I walked in and he was surrounded by a whole posse of blokes. I thought it was a stitch up, hes not actually meeting me for a beer. I thought, What am I doing here? Ive got to get out of here. Then I worked out they were the blokes who actually run the brewery. They are big blokes with big hipster beards, it was hilarious, Albanese says. And she was late. Haydon denies being late. The pair both insist the meeting was nothing more than a casual catch up over a beer, although they seemed to have a lot to talk about. After several beers, the brewery closed, and they continued talking over dinner at Turkish restaurant Stanbuli in Enmore Rd. I had been single for a long time when I met Anthony, Haydon says. I certainly Jodie Haydon and Anthony Albanese, right; at the Hamilton musical premiere, Sydney, 2021, above; and at the National Press Club, Canberra, this year. Pictures: Damian Shaw, Gary Ramage A relationship that blossomed in private for Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese and Jodie Haydon, is now very much in the spotlight as the election campaign ramps up hearts minds and Kirribilli, the prime ministerial harbourside mansion in Sydney, where Scott Morrison, his wife Jenny and two daughters currently reside? Take up residence in The Lodge, where the prime minister lives when in Canberra? Im not getting ahead of myself when it comes to thinking about that, she says. We are taking everything day by day. I havent really contemplated that at this point. It is extremely rare in Australian politics for a new partner to arrive on the scene when a politician is at such a crucial point in their career. Typically, political partners have been around for years, and have been able to slowly adjust to the increased scrutiny as their partner climbed the ranks from back bench to the front bench. There was no easing into it for Haydon, who quickly learned her words and actions will now be viewed differently, and potentially weaponised in the heat of political battle. Its been a rapid adjustment, or acceleration, as she calls it. I think, with all relationships, theres always an element of compromise, she says. So Im going through an adjustment of being single for a long time, to being in a relationship. And learning how to be considerate and to care for another person. And then theres this other layer of complexity for us, which is being more cautious. But I think what I always go back to is: the reason I am in this relationship is because I love Anthony. I think because I have found someone I respect and get along with and admire and who is good company, youve got to take the good with the bad. Jodie Haydon was born in 1978 in Bankstown, Sydney, to Pauline and Bill Haydon, who moved back to her mothers old stomping ground on the Central Coast when she was six months old. The Haydon family votes Labor. Always has done. I think my parents had always expressed to me that you have to be interested in politics if you care about education, if you care about where you get health care, if you care about public transport, if you care about the planet, fairness, equality, you have to take an interest in politics, Haydon says. It was also the conversation with our extended family, all of whom are Labor voters I have to say. I think we felt in many Story Ellen Whinnett Portrait Sam Ruttyn