Anthony Albanese is a pragmatic politician who can work across ideological lines. He was born in Italy and first experienced politics as a child.
Australia’s prime minister comes from humble ancestry, which he reminded supporters of as he delivered his acceptance speech on Saturday.
He said, “It speaks volumes about our great nation that a son of a single mother who was a disabled pensioner, and who grew up with public housing, can stand before us tonight as Australia’s prime Minister.”
The 59-year-old Mr Albanese was born March 1963 in Darlinghurst (an eastern suburb of Sydney) to an Irish mother and an Italian dad.
He was 12 years old when he organized a rent strike to keep his mother’s public housing occupied from being sold to developers.
In January, he spoke to the National Press Club about how he relied on his neighbours for food at times when his mother was not able to.
He said, “It gave my determination, every day, to help people like me growing up, and to have a better lifestyle.”
Albanese was the first member of his family to go to university. He studied economics and then became involved in student politics.
He was 22 when he was elected President of Young Labor. He worked as a Research Officer under Bob Hawke (Labor’s longest-serving Prime Minister).
In 1996, Labor’s first decade-long period in opposition to Labor saw Mr Albanese enter parliament.
Between 2007 and 2013, when the party returned to power, there were leadership conflicts during which he earned his reputation as a conciliator who was willing to work with both parties.
Labor lost the 2010 election and had to form a minority government.
Albanese, as the leader of the House, made sure that the “work of Government proceeded,” said Craig Emerson, the trade minister in that government.
It was ranked Australia’s most productive parliament, according to political commentators. This is based on the amount of laws that were passed and the number days in office.
Now Mr Albanese faces a greater challenge.
Robert Tickner, a former Labor Member, said that Anthony has the ability to see beyond party affiliations.
The young politician called him about his mother’s stove.
“(He) believes that there are people with good will in the local community,” Mr Tickner said.
“He is not a sectarian.”