No glitches in according official protocol to Gillard’s live-in partner - The New Indian Express

No glitches in according official
protocol to Gillard’s live-in partner

Published: 12th October 2012 10:40 AM

Last Updated: 12th October 2012 10:40 AM

The Ministry of External Affairs, while drawing up plans for Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s visit to India, had reportedly discussed as to what kind of protocol should be given to her live-in partner Tim Matheison.

Their relationship is recognised in Australian national law, and, according to the officials,  official protocol could be extended to Gillard’s live-in partner Matheison.

However, Mathieson would not accompany Gillard during her state visit from October 15-17, which,if he did, would be the first time India is hosting an unmarried couple during a visit of a head of state.

While Canberra eventually confirmed that Matheison would not be on the visit, South Block had done its homework on any possible protocol glitches during the preparatary stage. They found that contrary to Indian government’s prudish image, there was technically no impediment in rules to extend the protocol of the spouse of a head of state to Matheison.

As per the guidelines, their relationship is recognised by the national laws of the visiting dignitary’s country. The Australian Family Law Act has recognised such relationships since 2009, with the technical term “de facto relationship”. The official sources noted that Mathieson is also listed as a partner in Gillard’s passport. While Mathieson may be skipping India, he has been routinely accompanying Gillard on her overseas trips and playing the role of a head of state’s spouse. Mathieson had travelled with the Australian Prime Minister when she attended the Royal Wedding last year. Indian officials grappled with such protocol questions when French President Nicolas Sarkozy had been invited as republic day chief guest in 2008. He was then in the full glare of world paparazzi conducting a public affair with Italian model Carla Bruni. But, to the relief of MEA officials, he arrived in India as officially single. Carla Bruni later visited India as Sarkozy’s wife in 2010.

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