Australia’s next prime minister came from humble beginnings – Times of India


CANBERRA: Australia’s elected Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, is a politician shaped by his humble start to life as the only child of a single mother who raised him on a pension in Sydney’s rough inner-city suburbs.
He is also a hero of multicultural Australia, describing himself as the only candidate with a “non-Anglo-Celtic name” to run for Prime Minister in the office’s 121 years.
His friends pronounce his name ‘Alban-ez’, like bolognese. But after being repeatedly corrected by Italians over the years, his absent father’s nationality, he introduces himself and is widely known as ‘Alban-easy’.
He shared the stage during his victory speech with Senator Penny Wong, who will become Secretary of State. Her father was Malaysian Chinese and her mother European Australian.
“I think it’s good. Someone with a non-Anglo-Celtic surname is the leader in the House of Representatives and… someone with a surname like Wong is the leader of the government in the Senate,” Albanian said.
Australia has been criticized for its over-representation in parliament of descendants of British colonizers. Britain has ceased to be the main source of Australian immigrants since racist policies were dismantled in the 1970s. About half of Australia’s multicultural population is foreign born or has a foreign-born parent. Chinese and Indians are now immigrating in large numbers.
Albanian has pledged to restore Australia’s international reputation as a climate change laggard with stronger reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The previous government kept the same commitment it made in the Paris Agreement in 2015: 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2030. The Albanian Labor Party has promised a 43% reduction.
His financially precarious upbringing in government homes in Camperdown on the outskirts of Camperdown provided the basis for the politician who led the centre-left Australian Labor Party in government for the first time since 2007. He is still widely known by his childhood nickname, Albo.
“It says a lot about our amazing country that a son of a single mother who was a disabled retiree, who grew up in public housing further down Camperdown, can stand before you tonight as Prime Minister of Australia,” Albanian said in his election victory. speech on Saturday.
“Every parent wants more for the next generation than they had. My mother dreamed of a better life for me. And I hope my journey in life inspires Australians to reach for the stars,” he added.
The Albanian repeatedly referred to the life lessons he learned from his disadvantaged childhood during the six-week election campaign. Labor’s campaign focused on policy, including financial support for first-time homebuyers struggling with rising property prices and sluggish wage growth.
Labor also promised cheaper childcare for working parents and better nursing home care for the elderly.
Albanian pledged to restore confidence in Australia this week when he attends a summit in Tokyo on Tuesday with US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Albanian said he will be “completely consistent” with Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s current administration on Chinese strategic competition in the region.
But he said Australia had been placed in the “naughty corner” of the United Nations’ climate change negotiations by refusing to set more ambitious emissions reduction targets at a conference in November.
“One of the ways we are increasing our position in the region, and especially in the Pacific, is by taking climate change seriously,” Albanian told the National Press Club.
The Biden government and Australia “will have a strengthened relationship in our shared vision of climate change and the opportunities it represents,” Albanian said.
Albanian blamed Morrison for “a whole series of Australian international relations that had been damaged”.
He said Morrison misled the United States that a secret plan to provide Australia with a fleet of submarines powered by US nuclear technology had the support of the Albanian Labor Party. In fact, Labor was not notified of the plan until the day before it was announced in September.
Albanians also accused Morrison of leaking personal text messages from Emmanuel Macron to the media to discredit the French president’s complaint that Australia had not issued a warning that a French submarine contract would be cancelled.
In November, French Ambassador to Australia Jean-Pierre Thebault described the leak as a “new low” and a warning to other world leaders that their private communications with the Australian government could be weaponized and used against them.
Labor has also described a new security pact, China and the Solomon Islands, as Australia’s worst foreign policy failure in the Pacific since World War II.
To spare Albanian the scandal of being “illegitimate” in a Roman Catholic working-class family in socially conservative Australia in the 1960s, he was told as a young child that his Italian father, Carlo Albanese, had been killed in a car accident. accident shortly after being with his Irish-Australian mother, Maryanne Ellery, in Europe.
His mother, who became a disabled retiree due to chronic rheumatoid arthritis, told him the truth when he was 14 years old: His father was not dead and his parents had never married.
Carlo Albanese was a flight attendant on a cruise ship when the couple met in 1962 on the only overseas voyage of her life. She returned to Sydney from her seven-month journey across Asia to Britain and continental Europe, nearly four months pregnant, according to Anthony Albanese’s 2016 biography, “Albanian: Telling it Straight.”
She was living with her parents in the local government house in suburban Camperdown when her only child was born on March 2, 1963.
Out of loyalty to his mother and fear of hurting her feelings, Albanian waited until after her death in 2002 before going in search of his father.
Father and son were happily united in 2009 in the father’s hometown, Barletta in southern Italy. The son was in Italy for business meetings as the Australian Minister of Transport and Infrastructure.
Anthony Albanese has been a minister for the last six years of Labor in power, reaching his highest office – deputy prime minister – in the final three months of his reign, ending with the 2013 elections.
But Albanian critics argue that it is not his humble background but his left-wing politics that makes him unfit to be prime minister.
The Conservative government claimed he would be the most left-wing Australian leader in nearly 50 years since crash-or-crash-through reformer Gough Whitlam, a flawed Labor Party hero.
In 1975, Whitlam became the only Australian Prime Minister to be removed from office by a representative of a British monarch in what has been described as a constitutional crisis.
Whitlam had been introduced during his short but tumultuous three years in power-free university education, which allowed Albanians to graduate from the University of Sydney with a degree in economics despite his meager financial means.
Albanian’s supporters say that, although he belonged to the so-called socialist-left Labor party, he was a pragmatist with a proven ability to deal with more conservative elements of the party.
Albanian had undergone what has been described as a makeover in the past year, opting for more fashionable suits and eyewear. He has also lost 18 pounds in what many believe was an attempt to make himself more attractive to voters.
Albanian says he thought he was about to die in a two-car collision in Sydney last January and that was the catalyst for his healthier life choices. He had briefly resigned himself to a fate he once believed was his father.
After the accident, Albanian spent a night in a hospital and suffered what he described as external and internal injuries that he did not describe. The 17-year-old boy behind the wheel of the Range Rover SUV that collided with the much smaller Toyota Camry sedan from Albania was charged with negligent driving.
Albanian said he was 12 when he became involved in his first political campaign. His co-tenants of social housing successfully defeated a council proposal to sell their homes – a move that would have increased their rent – in a campaign that saw the council refusing to pay in a so-called rent strike.
The unpaid rent debt was forgiven, which Albanian described as a “lesson for those people who were not part of the rent strike: solidarity works.”
“Growing up, I understood the impact that government can have, to make a difference in people’s lives,” Albanian said. “And especially for opportunities.”
On Election Day, before the vote counting began, he spoke of a benefit from his upbringing.
“If you’re from where I’m from, one of the advantages you have is that you don’t get ahead of things. Everything in life is a bonus,” Albanian said.

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