Julia Eileen Gillard's partner since 2006, hairdresser and businessman Tim Mathieson, was born in 1959 in Shepparton, Victoria, where he also went to school. He has 3 adult children.
The first man to be prime ministerial spouse, Mathieson's role was as challenging as that of the 25 women who have shaped their public roles as prime ministerial spouses. Responses to Mathieson's status, as well as to Julia Gillard's as Australia's first female prime minister, demonstrated how old assumptions about gender roles persist. Gillard laughed off journalists' and opponents' pointed comments about her lack of interest in domestic matters and her childlessness. Mathieson liked to cook at home for his busy partner. That the couple were unmarried added to the challenge this 21st-century prime ministership offered to public expectations.
After Gillard became Deputy Prime Minister in December 2007, then prime ministerial spouse Thérèse Rein suggested Mathieson develop his interest in men's health issues by becoming involved in a charity. On 24 November 2008, Health Minister Nicola Roxon included Mathieson in a group of prominent men appointed health ambassadors. He stated in an interview, 'I've always had this thing that men didn't talk about their health enough'.
The couple moved into the prime ministerial residence, The Lodge, in September 2010, and retained Gillard's Altona house in her electorate. Mathieson frequently accompanied the Prime Minister on engagements within Australia and on her official overseas trips.
During his time as prime ministerial spouse, Mathieson undertook voluntary work for Kidney Health Australia, Indigenous Diabetes Association and mental health group Beyond Blue. He was also patron of the Australian Men's Shed Association, dedicated to encouraging men to meet and discuss problems in a comfortable environment.
In December 2010, Mathieson became patron of the National Portrait Gallery, succeeding prime ministerial spouses Thérèse Rein and Janette Howard.
- Kent, Jacqueline, The Making of Julia Gillard, Melbourne, Viking, 2009
- The Australian, 16 December 2010