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Anthony Albanese grew up in public housing as the son of s single mother who was a disability pensioner crippled with arthritis – but he had a long-held dream of running Australia.
On Saturday, he brought the Labor party to victory for the first time in nine years when he was elected as the nation’s 31st Prime Minister – snatching at least nine seats from the Scott Morrison‘s Liberal Party.
It wasn’t a landslide win – Labor had 72 seats as of Sunday morning, four short of the 76 needed for a majority, but he is on track to pick up five more for a narrow majority.
Mr Albanese will very likely have to form government with Greens and ‘teal’ independents, but he didn’t let that stifle his mood during his post-win speech on Saturday night – the man was ecstatic.
‘I say to my fellow Australians, thank you for this extraordinary honour,’ he said at the Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL Club, flanked by his partner Jodie Haydon and his son Nathan.
‘My Labor team will work every day to bring Australians together, and I will lead a government, worthy of the people of Australia.’
Anthony Albanese (pictured with Penny Wong, girlfriend Jodie and son Nathan) secured a historic election win on Saturday
Australian Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese (right) embraces his partner Jodie Haydon after winning the 2022 Federal Election
Anthony Albanese is pictured with his son, Nathan, and his mother Maryanne – just before she passed away in 2002
The 59-year-old said his mother Maryanne Ellery, who died in 2002, would be ‘beaming down on us’, and said he hoped that families living in public housing were watching.
‘Because I want every parent to be able to tell their child, no matter where you live or where you come from, in Australia the doors of opportunity open to us all,’ Mr Albanese said.
It was no coincidence that Paul Kelly’s ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’ played as the new Prime Minister left the club at about 1am that evening.
Mr Albanese, best known as ‘Albo’, has been forthcoming about his humble beginnings since long before he became the leader of the Labor party following Bill Shorten’s loss to Scott Morrison in 2019.
Morrison even went as far as to call him a ‘great Australian’ who never forgets his roots during the final leaders’ debate last week – partly because he was asked to say something nice about his opponent, and partly because it’s undeniable.
Scott Morrison is pictured with his family during his concession speech on Saturday night
Mr Albanese addressed a crowd of excited supporters outside the polling booth in Marrickville promising he would remain ‘one of the people’
Mr Albanese proudly says he ‘came out of the womb with three great faiths – the Labor party, the Catholic Church and the South Sydney Rabbitohs’.
WHAT DOES ALBO DO IN HIS SPARE TIME?
Anthony Albanese is an avid fan of the South Sydney Rabbitoh’s and likes to catch a game in his down-time.
Contrary to popular belief, Mr Albanese’s beer of choice is actually Reschs rather than craft beer. He limits his drinking to the weekends.
Mr Albanese has been cognizant of his diet since he had a near-fatal car accident in 2021.
He lost 20kg and follows a low-carb diet, opting for eggs instead of cereal for breakfast, salad for lunch and meat and two veg for dinner instead of pasta or potatoes.
There is a treadmill in his office, he goes on long walks with his dog and plays tennis twice a week. He also rides his bike.
He credits his character and moral compass to his mother, who was determined to give him a better life than she had – despite living in a small housing commission unit in Camperdown, in Sydney’s inner-west.
Their flat was conveniently located opposite the hospital, which Maryanne visited frequently due to her 30-year battle with rheumatoid arthritis.
Everyday tasks, like opening jars and doors, were difficult for her – to the point where most of the knuckles in her hands were eventually replaced with prosthetics.
He was often on his own while Maryanne was hospital, so neighbours looked out for him and made sure he had hot meals to eat.
Mr Albanese also believed his father had been killed in a car accident until he was about 15 when his mother finally revealed he was the result of a fling with an Italian steward she met on a voyage from Sydney to England.
He met his father, Carlo, in Italy in 2009. Carlo died of cancer in 2014.
The devout Labor supporter was the first in his family to go to university – studying economics at the University of Sydney in the early ’80s, which he funded by juggling multiple part-time jobs.
After working for minister and Labor left luminary Tom Uren under Bob Hawke in the mid-1980s he spent six years as assistant general secretary of Labor’s NSW branch.
He arrived in Canberra in 1996 after he won the seat of Grayndler as John Howard rose to power – his key focus included social wage and childcare.
Mr Albanese is pictured with the late Labor legend Bob Hawke in 1986 shortly after he graduated university
Mr Albanese is pictured in 1986 at Labor’s National Youth Conference in Hobart when he was 23
Mr Albanese held ministries in the Rudd and Gillard governments and was deputy prime minister during Kevin Rudd’s second turn. He has never been Treasurer of Finance Minister but has a record managing money in the Infrastructure portfolio.
In 2019, his wife of 19 years, Carmel Tebbutt – a former Deputy Premier of New South Wales – ended their 30-year relationship on New Year’s Day.
‘What I had to come to terms with was I needed to accept it rather than understand it,’ Mr Albanese previously told Daily Mail Australia.
‘And I did that. Real life is complex and things get thrown at you.’
Mr Albanese and Ms Tebbutt, who have a 21-year-old son, Nathan, talk regularly. She was also an active supporter of his during the election campaign.
He is in a new relationship with 43-year-old finance worker Jodie Haydon, who he met at a conference in Melbourne in March 2020.
Mr Albanese’s his wife of 19 years, Carmel Tebbutt, left him on New Year’s Day in 2019. They had been together 30 years (pictured together in 2018)
Ms Tebbutt was out campaigning for Mr Albanese’s Labor Party on election day (pictured)
However, his life took a turn in January 2021 when he suffered serious injuries after a four-wheel drive driven by a 17-year-old P-plater ploughed into his Toyota Camry at Marrickville, not far from his home.
‘When you have a head-on car accident and there’s a Range Rover coming for you full bore and you survive you think about your health,’ he said.
Mr Albanese slimmed down through ‘commitment and discipline’. ‘It’s not easy in your late 50s to lose 20 kilos but I’ve done it.’
‘It’s just a matter of being sensible and really health-conscious and I’ve got to say I have so much more energy. It’s put a spring in my step.’
Last year’s car accident had a more profound effect on Mr Albanese. ‘At the point where the car was heading towards me, I thought, “Ah well, this is how it ends”,’ he said.
His near-death experience only spurred him on – he developed a hunger to be the Prime Minister, and took to the campaign trail in 2022 with gusto.
Mr Albanese is pictured campaigning with partner Jodie Haydon. The couple have been together since 2020
Mr Albanese was ridiculed for failing to remember the nation’s unemployment figures and for not being able to name the official interest rate, but he owned his mistakes.
‘When I have made an error I put my hand up,’ he said. ‘I’m human. That can happen.’
‘What people want from their leaders is people who’ll have a crack, aim to do better for them. What they want is someone who’s committed to change and making a difference in their lives and that’s me,’ he said.
‘It is the prime minister’s job to look after people, to take responsibility.’
Mr Albanese paid tribute to the outgoing Prime Minister on Saturday night: ‘Scott very graciously wished me well, and I think him for that, and I wish him well.
‘And I thank him for the service he has given to our country as Prime Minister. I would like to thank Jenny Morrison and their two daughters for their contribution and sacrifice as well.’
Outlining his priorities for the next three years, Mr Albanese said: ‘Together we can end the climate wars.
‘Together we can take advantage of the opportunity for Australia to be a renewable energy superpower.
Mr Albanese held ministries in the Rudd and Gillard governments and was deputy prime minister during Kevin Rudd’s second turn
‘Together we can work in common interests with business and unions to drive productivity, lift wages and profits.
‘I want an economy that works for people, not the other way around.
‘Together we can strengthen universal healthcare through Medicare. We can protect universal superannuation.
‘And we can write universal childcare into that proud tradition.’
The Labor leader also vowed to implement a national anti-corruption commission after his party won from Opposition for only the fourth time since World War II.
His first task will be a Quad security meeting with Japan, the US and India on Tuesday in Tokyo.
Albanese’s policies for a ‘better future’:
Housing: Labor proposed a ‘Help To Buy’ scheme, which would see the government take a 40% stake in up to 10,000 homes a year to help people earning less than $90,000 on to the property ladder.
Mr Albanese will also create a $10billion Housing Australia Future Fund to build 30,000 new social and affordable housing properties in its first five years.
Health: The Labor leader pledged 50 first-aid clinics across the country if he wins the election.
Labor will also increase government subsidies for medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme by reducing the maximum cost for the patient from $42.50 to $30 per script.
Manufacturing: Labor will set up a $15billion National Reconstruction Fund to fund major manufacturing projects across the nation.
Electric Vehicles: Labor will spend $20billion to upgrade the electricity grid to improve transmission, roll out 85 solar banks and 400 community batteries and invest in 10,000 ‘new energy apprentices’ alongside a $10million New Energy Skills Program.
The gender pay gap: Mr Albanese vowed to introduce a law forcing companies to reveal how much they pay men and women if he becomes prime minister.