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Australian election 2022: Greens Adam Bandt partner Claudia Perkins shaved Coal Kills into her hair

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The wife of Greens leader Adam Bandt was once a Labor staffer for Julia Gillard, shaved Coal Kills into her hair – and named their kids after woodland animals.

Mother of two Claudia Perkins is now a part-time yoga teacher in inner city Melbourne, raising children Wren, 6, and Elke, 5 and the strength behind Mr Bandt’s election campaign which is set to be the Greens’ most successful yet.

In the wake of the bushfires, floods and Covid, the Greens are now in the boxseat for their best results ever in an Australian federal election.

Claudia Perkins, the wife of Greens leader Adam Bandt, was once a Labor staffer for Julia Gillard, shaved Coal Kills into her hair - and named their kids after woodland animals

Claudia Perkins, the wife of Greens leader Adam Bandt, was once a Labor staffer for Julia Gillard, shaved Coal Kills into her hair – and named their kids after woodland animals

Polls tip them to gain three seats in the Senate and an outside chance of a Brisbane seat in House of Representatives, despite being overshadowed in the media by the so-called teal Independents.

But 13 years ago, Ms Perkins was a public servant before switching to become a political advisor for Labor’s Simon Crean and later Julia Gillard.

It led to to some awkward moments during the fledgling romance with her then-boyfriend Mr Bandt during the 2010 election campaign.

He endured ‘Slept with the enemy’ headlines as he fought to be elected to represent Melbourne but insisted at the time it less of a problem than it might have appeared.

Claudia Perkins was a public servant before switching to become a political advisor for Labor's Simon Crean and later Julia Gillard 13years ago when she started dating Adam Bandt

Claudia Perkins was a public servant before switching to become a political advisor for Labor’s Simon Crean and later Julia Gillard 13years ago when she started dating Adam Bandt

The pair are renowned for living an environmentally-friendly lifestyle and sticking to their diehard Greens values

The pair are renowned for living an environmentally-friendly lifestyle and sticking to their diehard Greens values

‘During the campaign we spent two nights together,’ he said later. ‘There was a Chinese wall about what we would and wouldn’t talk about. 

‘I now understand how tough things are on partners of politicians. They haven’t stuck their hands up to be in the public spotlight.’

Ms Perkins left Labor after the 2010 election, following her husband-to-be’s lead who quit the ALP in 1989 to join the Greens, and went on to work in Mr Bandt’s office.

The pair are renowned for living an environmentally-friendly lifestyle and sticking to their diehard Greens values, including Ms Perkins decision to carve the Coal Kills message into her hair for the 2018 Mid Winter Ball in Canberra.

Mother of two Claudia Perkins is now a part-time yoga teacher in inner city Melbourne, raising their children Wren, 6, and Elke, 5

Mother of two Claudia Perkins is now a part-time yoga teacher in inner city Melbourne, raising their children Wren, 6, and Elke, 5

Claudia Perkins is the secret weapon behind Adam Bandt's election campaign which is set to be the Greens' most successful yet

Claudia Perkins is the secret weapon behind Adam Bandt’s election campaign which is set to be the Greens’ most successful yet

But they clashed with some supporters over their pro-vaccine stance, even before the Covid pandemic, actively backing the widespread vaccination of children against diseases like measles.

Adam Bandt and Claudi Parkins clashed with some supporters over their pro-vaccine stance, even before the Covid pandemic, actively backing the widespread vaccination of children against diseases like measles

Adam Bandt and Claudi Parkins clashed with some supporters over their pro-vaccine stance, even before the Covid pandemic, actively backing the widespread vaccination of children against diseases like measles

‘Claudia and I feel really strongly about not putting children at risk through non-vaccination,’ Mr Bandt revealed in 2018.

‘Going public made a difference, because it helped dispel a myth about how Greens-voting, cloth nappy-using, inner-city parents act. 

‘I also think us sharing our personal story helped reinforce trust in the science, because we weren’t asking people to do something we weren’t already doing ourselves.’

But he conceded the pressure of his parliamentary life had taken its toll on family life, with him often away in Canberra for long stretches, and Ms Perkins left to bring the children up alone.

‘I think we only get by because Claudia and I share similar values, and she thinks the work is important,’ he said. ‘It’s the hardest part of the job.

‘People fail to appreciate how hard it is on partners, who spend a big chunk of time as single parents. It is difficult to support Claudia when I’m away.

Adam Bandt conceded the pressure of his parliamentary life had taken its toll on family life, with him often away in Canberra and Claudia Perkins left to bring the children up alone

Adam Bandt conceded the pressure of his parliamentary life had taken its toll on family life, with him often away in Canberra and Claudia Perkins left to bring the children up alone

‘I can’t be that much help. The main thing is making time for Claudia to have a rest from us all when I get back.’

Just prior to the 2022 election though, Ms Perkins took the chance to turn the tables and left Mr Bandt in charge of the kids for a week while she took a break at a South Australian winery.

‘Bellweather Wines were kind enough to let me pretend to make wine for this last week,’ she posted on Instagram the week before the election campaign launched.

‘It really was a life-highlight kind of experience. Beautiful country. Beautiful people. 

‘Thanks to Adam Bandt for keeping the home fires burning, even though he’s kinda busy right now!’

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