A nearly decade-long Liberal-Nationalist coalition government in Australia came to an end on Saturday when Prime Minister Scott Morrison ceded the election to Labor.
Prime Minister Morrison, led by the Liberals in a right-wing coalition, will be replaced by Anthony Albanes as opposition leader in 2019.
A Labor leader nicknamed “Albo” has promised Australians “safe change” and unity in an election campaign driven by post-epidemic recovery, cost of living and national security.
After winning the election, he said, “I think people want to come together, find our common interests, and find a common purpose.”
“I think people have gone through enough divisions. What they want is to unite as a country and I intend to lead it.”
He is one of America’s longest-serving politicians, but the Albanese’s journey to the top has not been easy. The 59-year-old son of a single mother living on a disability pension, he grew up in a city council apartment. He notes that these experiences helped shape his progressive views.
He has become an advocate for the LGBT+ community and has earned a reputation as a fierce advocate for Australia’s free health system.
After finishing school as the first in his family, Mr Albanese studied at the University of Sydney, where he earned a degree in economics and became involved in student politics. He was first elected to Parliament in 1996 when then Liberal leader John Howard came to power.
He is a Catholic and rugby league fan and said during the campaign: [of the womb] We have three great faiths: the Labor Party, the Catholic Church and the South Sydney Rabbit.”
Between 2007 and 2013, when the Labor Party came to power, it was marred by a leadership struggle in which Prime Minister Albanise openly criticized both sides. During those years, he built a reputation as a willing collaborator outside ideological boundaries in his role as a leader of the house.
After losing the 2010 election, Labor joined a minority government for the first time in 70 years, and passing the law would have required either conservative or independent support.
But according to one metric cited by political commentators (number of laws passed relative to tenure), it turned out to be Australia’s most productive parliament.
“There were attempts to create chaos, but what Anthony did was [as leader of the house] Said Craig Emerson, then Minister of Trade.
Albanes, 12, helped organize a rent strike to prevent her mother’s public housing estate from being sold to developers. Those who know the Albanese say he was the real motive, a mixture of the pragmatism he gained from his childhood struggles and his interest in social justice.
“I made the decision to help people like me grow up and live a better life every day,” he said in an interview with the National Press Club in January. when his mother couldn’t support him.
At the age of 22, he was elected president of the party’s youth alliance, the Young Labor Party, and worked as a researcher under the economic reformist government of Labor’s longest-serving prime minister, Bob Hawke.
“Anthony has the ability to look beyond the party’s political leanings,” said former Labor cabinet secretary Robert Tickner. “[He] I believe in this idea that there are good people in the community.
“He is not a sectarian.”