There can be no doubt that when your partner holds a public office it affects your lifestyle, and people’s perception of you. I’m fortunate that my husband, Tony, has always been very supportive of me in my position as Lord Mayor, even though it has had a dramatic effect on our home life.
I went from working 4 days a week at the Australia Day Council NT to working anywhere up to 70 hours a week over 7 days a week. Before becoming Lord Mayor, I cooked most nights, mainly because I love cooking. I could get all the domestic chores completed on my day off so that our weekends were free to focus on the things we loved to do. I also had time to regularly catch up with my friends for lunch. Now, I’m lucky to be home one night a week for a meal that I have cooked.
People also seem to want to load Tony up with their complaints about Council. Be it the very annoying parking ticket, to something we haven’t done or something we have done, he has heard it all. He has certainly learnt some coping skills as he deflects these comments with “Have you told Council?” or “Here’s the website address.”
A lot of my work involves attending functions, receptions, balls, dinners, exhibitions, performances and so on. It is fantastic to be offered the opportunity to participate in the Darwin community life. I view attending events as an essential part of my civic duties. Tony chooses which functions he will attend as after all it’s my job, not his.
I am very lucky to have supportive sisters and friends who often step into the gap and accompany me. Very early on, Mayor Abbott’s wife Anna, and my husband Tony formed a “Plus 1 club” of which I’m sure my sister, Camille, could be an honorary member. It has all been in fun, but I do sincerely thank them for their support.
It is always good to be able to have someone by my side. They help me in small, yet vital ways – things like holding my handbag, taking photos and providing a safety net that an introvert like me needs in social situations.