Jodie Haydon’s life has changed dramatically in the past three years.
In 2019 she was an ordinary finance worker who supported the Rabbitohs and handed out how-to-vote cards on election days.
Now the 43-year-old is rubbing shoulders with global leaders and European royalty as she accompanies her partner, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, to NATO meetings in Spain.
The daughter of school teachers – who was born in Bankstown, western Sydney – was pictured smiling in a green dress alongside Spain’s Queen Letizia in the Romanesque city of Sergovia, just north of Madrid, on Wednesday.
Pictured: Anthony Albanese’s partner Jodie Haydon (right) meets Queen Letizia of Spain (left)
Jodie Haydon waves to the cameras she prepares to jet off across the world with her partner, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese
Jodie Haydon (far right) mingled with the wives and partners of world leaders in Segovia, Spain as the NATO summit got underway on Wednesday. The First Ladies of Malta, Turkey, Lithuania, Turkey, Norway, South Korea, South Korea, Latvia, Montenegro, Belgium, Cyprus, Albania and North Macedonia also attended with Gauthier Destenay, the husband of Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier and Juraj Rizman, partner of Slovakia’s president Zuzana Čaputová
She later posed for snaps with other leaders’ partners including US First Lady Jill Biden, who has been joined on the trip by granddaughters Maisy and Finnegan.
Ms Haydon has declared she wants to avoid formally commenting on politics as Australia’s ‘first lady’ – but she certainly has no qualms airing her views on social media where she regularly posts about progressive issues.
Although she has never sought political office, Ms Haydon has been a Labor member ‘on and off’ and now works as a women’s officer for the NSW Public Service Association.
Ms Haydon freely airs her opinions on LinkedIn where she has recently called for the date of Australia Day to be changed, argued for pay rises for teachers, supported refugees and described outspoken feminist Grace Tame as inspiring.
PM Anthony Albanese and Ms Haydon meet His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain and his wife Queen Letizia on Tuesday night
Ms Haydon argued in this LinkedIn post for the date of Australia Day to be changed. Mr Albanese does not support this view
In one post last year, she shared a cartoon of an Aboriginal rights protester with the caption: ‘Sovereignty has never been ceded. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land. #ulurustatementfromtheheart #treaty #changethedate’.
Many Indigenous campaigners want Australia Day to be moved from January 26, the date the British First Fleet landed at Sydney Cove in 1788, because colonisation dispossessed Aboriginal people of their lands.
Ms Haydon’s view on the matter contrasts with the Prime Minister’s who, during the election campaign, insisted the date should not be moved.
‘One of the things we need to do is seek ways to unite Australia, rather than engage in culture wars. It’s really counterproductive,’ he said.
A spokesman for Mr Albanese declined to comment on their disagreement, and Labor sources brushed off the difference, saying it’s normal for partners to have different views from one another.
In Australia the prime minister’s partner does not have an official role like the US first lady, but it’s normal for them to attend important overseas or interstate trips.
Queen Letizia of Spain hosted the wives and partners of world leaders in Segovia, including Australian First Lady Jodie Haydon (far right)
Jodie Haydon joined her partner at the NATO gala dinner in Madrid on Tuesday night
Ms Haydon used to be an ordinary finance worker (left in 2015 and right in 2009) but was thrust into the limelight when she started dating the 59-year-old Prime Minister in 2020
Anthony Albanese and partner Jodie Haydon disembark after arriving at Torrejon Airbase in Madrid on Monday
Ms Haydon, who used to work for superannuation funds, supported NSW teachers when they went on strike in December over pay and workload
And last month when the Fair Work Commission made a provisional decision to hand employees 10 days paid domestic violence leave, Ms Haydon celebrated the move
What is Australia’s ‘first lady’ doing in Spain?
Jodie Haydon has joined her partner of two years Anthony Albanese on his third overseas trip since becoming Prime Minister six weeks ago.
The couple are in Madrid, where 34 world leaders have gathered for the NATO Summit, which got underway on Wednesday.
On their way to Spain, Mr Albanese and his partner stopped over in the United Arab Emirates, where Australia has a military operating hub at the Al Minhad airbase just outside Dubai.
The pair met with defence force personnel and Australian embassy staff at the hub known as Camp Baird, where Ms Haydon laid a wreath at a memorial honouring Australians killed on operations in the Middle East.
Mr Albanese met with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Tuesday following their arrival in Madrid on Monday night.
Ms Haydon joined him that night for the NATO gala dinner gala hosted by the King and Queen of Spain.
NATO was founded in 1949 as a security alliance to counter the Soviet Union, now Russia.
The meeting brings together 30 member states and up to 25 partner nations, including Australia, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand from the Asian-Pacific region to discuss important issues facing the Alliance.
The Madrid Summit will set NATO’s strategic direction for the next decade and beyond as it adapts to a ever changing world.
Queen Letizia of Spain greets Australia’s First Lady Jodie Haydon in Segovia on Wednesday
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the growing dominance of China are set to be high on the agenda at the summit.
As her partner attended at the summit on Wednesday, Australia’s ‘first lady’ spent the day mingling with US First Lady Jill Biden and other wives and partners of world leaders while enjoying the sights of Segovia, 90km north of Madrid.
After the summit, Ms Haydon will travel with her partner to Paris, where Mr Albanese will meet with French President Emmanuel Macron to mend Australia’s strained relationship with France.
Ms Haydon, who used to work for superannuation funds, also supported teachers when they went on strike in NSW in December over pay and workload.
‘I stand in solidarity with our hard working public educators in NSW. Will you,’ she wrote.
‘As the daughter of two retired public school teachers, I know how hard this job is. As it stands today it’s been clearly undervalued with unsustainable workloads and uncompetitive salaries.
‘We need to attract and retain quality teachers. They deserve our support more than ever.’
And last month when the Fair Work Commission made a provisional decision to hand employees 10 days paid domestic violence leave, Ms Haydon celebrated the move.
She said: ‘This is why I’m proud to work for the union movement that has tirelessly advocated for better working conditions. This will make an enormous difference to those suffering at the hands of a violent partner.’
Ms Haydon has repeatedly posted about gender equality and women’s safety and also been vocal about welcoming refugees into Australia.
Last week she shared a heart-warming post by NSW Police about a Vietnamese refugee who became a detective in Sydney, writing: ‘This is a story that demonstrates the success of refugees coming to Australia and contributing to society in such a positive way.’
Mr Albanese, center, celebrates with his son Nathan, right, and his partner Jodie after winning the election on May 21
Mr Albanese and his partner Jodie Haydon speak to members of the Australian Defence Force during a visit to Camp Baird in Dubai on the way to Europe
Ms Haydon has used her social media profile to support a voice to parliament for Aboriginal Australians
It appears Ms Haydon prefers to keep her views in the social media sphere.
In a News Corp interview during the election campaign she vowed to avoid political commentary, saying: ‘Anthony is the one here who is running for political office, it’s not me.
‘My job will be to focus on my day job and allow Anthony to focus on his.’
The 43-year-old, who was born in Bankstown, Sydney but grew up on the Central Coast, said politics was a dinner table conversation in her childhood household.
‘My parents had always expressed to me that you have to be interested in politics if you care about education, 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,’ she said, revealing that all of her extended family are Labor voters.
Ms Haydon and Mr Albanese are only the second unmarried pair to be handed the keys to the Prime Minister’s residences after Julia Gillard and her now former partner Tim Mathieson, a hairdresser.
Mr Albanese and Ms Haydon walk in Eastwood, Sydney after his election victory
In one post three months ago Ms Haydon said she was proud of Mr Albanese’s 15kg weight loss
The couple posed for the March edition of Women’s Weekly at Mr Albanese’s home in Marrickville, inner-west Sydney and he revealed he wooed her with a first date at a hipster brewery near home.
‘We had what I thought would just be a drink at Young Henrys in Newtown, and we got on really well. That’s how it started,’ he told Women’s Weekly.
The pair met in early 2020 at a conference in Melbourne where Mr Albanese was speaking.
The then Opposition leader asked the crowd if there were any fellow South Sydney fans present and finance worker Ms Haydon, who lives in his Grayndler electorate, shouted: ‘Up the Rabbitohs’.
He later introduced himself and they decided to go for a drink when they were back in Sydney.
Mr Albanese had recently split from Ms Tebbutt after 19 years of marriage and 30 years together.
He said he was still ’emotionally bruised’ from the sudden split which involved no third parties but came as a shock.
Mr Albanese and his partner Jodie Haydon prepare to lay a wreath at a memorial at Camp Baird in Dubai
Ms Haydon, who has never been married or had children, said she wasn’t looking for a relationship but realised she had fallen in love with Mr Albanese when he had a car crash in January 2021.
His Toyota was rammed by a Range Rover and he was rushed to hospital for X-rays but escaped serious injury.
Ms Haydon recalled arriving at the scene of the crash in Marrickville after a phone call and seeing her boyfriend’s smashed-up car.
‘I saw the mess of a car before I saw him and thought ‘he couldn’t survive this”. It was very scary, and in that moment, you realise just how much you love this person – the fear of losing them,’ she said.
‘As I jumped in the ambulance and saw Anthony, I knew then the depth of my feelings towards him.’
Earlier this year, Ms Haydon criticised outgoing PM Scott Morrison in a podcast.
She blasted the Prime Minister for not implementing all 55 recommendations of the Jenkins report into sexual harassment.
Mr Albanese during a street walk with his partner Jodie Haydon a week after his election victory
Ms Haydon spoke to troops in Dubai while she travelled with Mr Albanese to Europe
She spoke about the issue in her role as women’s officer for the NSW Public Service Association.
‘One of the things we could be doing is adopting Respect at Work, the 55 recommendations that the Jenkins report has delivered,’ she said.
‘You know, these steps are actionable, they’re tangible, but at the moment, they’re missing in action, we haven’t seen these implemented more broadly.’
The [email protected] Report made 13 recommendations that required changes to Commonwealth law.
The Government implemented six of them in September and was consulting on the rest to avoid any unintended consequences.
Labor vowed to immediately implement all the recommendations, which include imposing a duty on employers to takes steps to eliminate sex discrimination and allowing unions to bring claims to court.
Ms Haydon also praised Grace Tame in the interview and vowed to be ‘relentless’ in her new role.
‘We all looked at her bravery and thought here’s someone who’s taking the Australian of the Year platform and using it to tell their story,’ she said of Ms Tame, who was sexually abused by her school maths teacher.
She said she would use her new role as Women’s Officer to ‘really advance women’s issues but agitate for change’.
‘I’m going to be pretty relentless,’ she said.
Ms Haydon has campaigned for wage rises for public sector workers