POLITICS

Operation Lucy: The First Lady Makes Her Debut On The Campaign Trail

Lucy Turnbull makes her first election appearance.

28/05/2016 1:26 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:53 PM AEST
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Fairfax
Lucy Turnbull joins the Prime Minister in Sydney to open a mental health facility.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has stepped out for day 19 of the election campaign with his most loyal ally; his wife.

Lucy Turnbull made her debut on the campaign trail on Saturday afternoon, joining the Prime Minister as he opened a government-funded mental health facility, HeadSpace, in Sydney.

Not only was she by her husband's side, but on the front page of News Limited papers too, giving her first interview since the election was called.

Opening up about her own career to The Herald Sun, the woman who has long preferred to steer clear of the First Lady title, said the relationship with her husband of 36 years hasn't changed since he took the top job in September.

"It's not an official position or title that comes with a job description so I think the role of [First Lady] is to do what you usually do but also be a companion to somebody who happens to be the Prime Minister," she says.

"Whatever I do as a private citizen I've continued to do."

Fairfax: Lyndon Mechielsen
Lucy and Malcolm Turnbull at the opening of mental health facility Headspace in Bondi Junction.

Lucy Turnbull isn't foreign to politics, with her great-grandfather Sir Thomas Hughes becoming Sydney's first lord mayor and father Tom Hughes briefly serving as federal attorney-general.

Currently Chief Commissioner at the Greater Sydney Commission, Lucy has her own packed schedule balancing commitments as chairwoman of biomedical company Prima BioMed Limited, board member of the Grattan Institue, and roles with the National Portrait Gallery and anti-domestic violence organisation Our Watch.

Bill Shorten's wife, Chloe -- who is former Governor-General Quentin Bryce's daughter -- appeared early on in the Opposition leader's campaign, but Turnbull and his wife have not appeared together publicly since the election was called.

The pair were last photographed on Mother's Day with their daughter, Daisy, and grandson, Jack.

While murmurs on social media speculate Turnbull has brought his wife into the campaign due to performing badly in the polls, the pair opened the facility in Bondi Junction which is only ten minutes' drive from their Point Piper home. An easy stop for Lucy.

Turnbull said he was proud to open the facility, spruiking the use of 21st century technologies HeadSpace uses; in particular "the use of digital applications, smartphone apps that enable young people to seek help and do so in a much more private, more intimate way".

"This is the type of innovative front-line work in mental health that is so transformative. It's the de-institutionalisation of mental health services," Turnbull told reporters on Saturday.

But it's only a short stop in Sydney.

The Prime Minister and Bill Shorten will put politics aside on Saturday night in Melbourne, walking the Long Walk before the flagship AFL game of the Indigenous Round at the MCG. And then it's back to politics for the National Press Club debate on Sunday evening.

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