Canberra, Australia ( Associated Press) — Australia’s elected Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is a politician drawn from a humble beginning in life as the only child of a single mother, who raised him on a pension in a gritty-Sydney suburb.
He is also a hero of multicultural Australia, describing himself as the only candidate with a “non-Anglo-Celtic name” running for prime minister in the 121 years the office has been in existence.
He has promised to rehabilitate Australia’s international reputation as a climate change laggard with drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
His financially precarious upbringing in state-owned housing in suburban Camperdown originally constituted a politician who headed the centre-left Australian Labor Party. In government for the first time since 2007. He is still widely known by his childhood nickname Elbow.
“It says so much about our great country that the son of a single mother who was a disability pensioner, who grew up in public housing in Camperdown, can stand before you tonight as Prime Minister of Australia,” Albanese said in his election victory speech on Saturday.
“Every parent wants more for their next generation than they had. My mother dreamed of a better life for me. And I hope my life’s journey will inspire Australians to reach for the stars.”
Albanese repeatedly cited life lessons learned from his disadvantaged childhood during the six-week election campaign. Labor’s campaign has focused on policies, including financial support for first home buyers struggling with rising real estate prices and sluggish wage growth.
Labor also promised affordable child care for working parents and better nursing home care for the elderly.
Albanese promised to begin rebuilding trust in Australia this week when he attends the Tokyo summit with US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.
Albanese said he would remain “absolutely consistent” with Morrison’s current administration on Chinese strategic competitiveness in the region.
But he said Australia had been placed in a “naughty corner” in UN climate change talks by refusing to adopt more ambitious emissions reduction targets at the November conference.
“One way to raise our position in the region, and especially in the Pacific, is to take climate change seriously,” Albanese told the National Press Club.
“There will be a strong link between Biden’s administration and Australia in our general view of climate change and what that opportunity represents,” Albanese said.
Albanese blamed Prime Minister Scott Morrison for “damaging the full range of Australia’s international relations”.
He said Morrison misled the United States that Australia had a secret plan to provide Albanese had the support of the Labor Party with a fleet of American nuclear-powered submarines. In fact, Labor was not told about the plan until the day before it was announced in September.
Albanese also accused Morrison of leaking personal text messages to the media from Emmanuel Macron to discredit the French president’s complaint that Australia had given no warning that a French submarine contract would be cancelled.
In November, French Ambassador to Australia Jean-Pierre Thébault called the leak a “new low” and a warning to other world leaders that his personal communications with the Australian government could be weaponized and used against them.
Labor has also described a new security agreement between China and the Solomon Islands as Australia’s worst foreign policy failure in the Pacific since World War II.
Morrison’s government had set a target of reducing Australia’s emissions by 26% to 28% from 2005 levels by 2030. Labor targets 43%.
As a young child, to save Albanese from the scandal of being “illegitimate” in a working-class Roman Catholic family in a socially conservative 1960s Australia, he was told that soon after the marriage of his Italian father, Carlo Albanese. The latter had died in a car accident. Irish-Australian mother in Europe, Maryanne Ellery.
His mother, who became an invalid pensioner due to chronic rheumatoid arthritis, told him the truth at the age of 14: his father had not died and his parents had never married.
Carlo Albanese was a steward on a cruise ship when the couple met in 1962 on the only foreign trip of their lives. According to Anthony Albanese’s 2016 biography, “Albanese: Telling It Straight,” she returned to Sydney from her seven-month trip from Asia to Britain and continental Europe, about four months pregnant.
She was living with her parents at their local government-owned home in inner-suburban Camperdown when their only child was born on March 2, 1963.
Loyalty to his mother and fear of hurting his feelings, Albanese waited until after his death in 2002 before searching for his father.
Father and son happily reunite in 2009 in the father’s hometown of Barreta in southern Italy. Son was in Italy for business meetings as Australia’s Minister of Transport and Infrastructure.
Anthony Albanese was a minister in power in Labor’s most recent six years and rose to his highest office – deputy prime minister – in the last three months of his government, which ended with the 2013 election.
But critics of Albanese argue that it is not his humble background but his left-wing politics that makes him unfit to be prime minister.
The Conservative government argued that he would be the most left-wing Australian leader in nearly 50 years since crash-or-crash-through reformer Gough Whitlam, a flawed hero of the Labor Party.
In 1975, Whitlam became the only Australian prime minister to be ousted from office by a British monarch’s representative in what has been described as a constitutional crisis.
Whitlam began during his brief but turbulent three years in power open university education, which enabled Albanians to graduate from the University of Sydney with an economics degree despite their meager financial resources.
Supporters of Albanese say that while he belonged to Labor’s so-called socialist leftist faction, he was a pragmatist with a proven ability to deal with more conservative elements of the party.
The Albanese over the past year was described as a change, opting for more fashionable suits and glasses. He has also lost 18 kg (40 lb), in what many believe is an attempt to make himself more attractive to voters.
Albanese says he believed he was about to die in a two-car collision in Sydney in January last year and that was the catalyst for his healthier life choices. He briefly resigned himself to a fate he once believed was his father.
After the accident, Albanese spent a night in a hospital and was described as having external and internal injuries that he did not elaborate on. A 17-year-old boy behind the wheel of a Range Rover SUV that collided with a much smaller Toyota Camry sedan from Albanese has been charged with reckless driving.
Albanese said he was 12 when he joined his first political campaign. His fellow public housing tenants successfully defeated a local council proposal to sell their homes – a move that would have increased their rents – in a campaign that involved the council’s refusal to pay in a so-called rent strike. Included.
The unpaid rent loan was forgiven, which Albanese described as “a lesson for those who were not part of the rent strike: solidarity works.
“As I grew up, I understood the impact government can have on making a difference in people’s lives,” Albanese said. “And especially, for occasion.”