Who is Anthony Albanese, Australia’s PM-elect?

Anthony Albanese has led his Labor Party to victory in the national election in Australia, ending nine years of conservative rule.

Anthony Albanese has led his Labor Party to victory in the national election in Australia, ending nine years of conservative rule.

The opposition Labor party with 72 seats is yet to gain a parliamentary majority in the 151-member parliament, as the counting of votes is still under way.

“The Australian people have voted for change. I am humbled by this victory,” the 59-year-old Labor leader told his supporters in Sydney.

Albanese, nicknamed “Albo”, will be sworn in as prime minister after his Labor party claimed its first electoral win since 2007.

He has promised big changes after nearly 10 years of conservative rule, from stepping up climate action to boosting Indigenous rights and cracking down on political corruption.

In his first comments after the election win, Albanese said he wanted to bring Australians together.

“I want to unite the country. I think people have had enough of division, what they want is to come together as a nation and I intend to lead that,” he said referring to the divisive politics under conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrisson.

Earlier, Prime Minister Morrison conceded defeat as he congratulated Albanese on his victory.

Political career

In the 26 years since Albanese was first elected to parliament, Labor has only held government for five years – during the tumultuous terms of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard.

Albanese first became a minister after Rudd’s 2007 election victory and rose through the Labor ranks, finally taking over the opposition leadership after the party’s crushing loss in 2019.

Albanese, who has described himself as the only candidate with a “non-Anglo Celtic name” to run for prime minister in the 121 years that the office has existed, referred to his own humble upbringing in the Sydney suburb of Camperdown.

“My mother dreamt of a better life for me. And I hope that my journey in life inspires Australians to reach for the stars,” the 59-year-old said.

Anthony Albanese has spoken about his own humble upbringing in the Sydney suburb of Camperdown [Rick Rycroft/AP Photo]

“I want Australia to continue to be a country that no matter where you live, who you worship, you would love, or what your last name is, that places no restrictions on your journey in life.”

The aspiring politician joined the left-wing Labor Party in high school and later became deeply involved in student politics at the University of Sydney.

He was the first person in his family to go to university and has said his working-class roots shaped his worldview.

Labor policy under Albanese

Labor has promised more financial assistance and a robust social safety net as Australia grapples with the highest inflation since 2001 and soaring housing prices.

Albanese has promised to cut carbon emissions by 43 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels, boost renewables, offer discounts for electric cars, and help build community-owned solar power and battery projects.

On foreign policy, the Labor will continue the country’s pro-US tilt, with Albanese saying the “first pillar” of Australia’s foreign policy is its alliance with the United States.

He supports a long-term alliance, AUKUS – agreed last year with the United Kingdom and the US to equip Australia’s navy with nuclear-powered submarines.

Albanese had criticised the previous government’s handling of relations with the Solomon Islands, which recently signed a defence agreement with China. He predicts that a more ambitious climate change policy will improve relations with Pacific island nations threatened by rising seas.

The Labor party under Albanese has proposed to establish a Pacific defence school to train neighbouring armies in response to China’s potential military presence on the Solomon Islands on Australia’s doorstep.

Asked to describe what he can bring to the job of prime minister, Albanese said: “Integrity and the capacity to take responsibility.”

The Labor leader has criticised the outgoing leader Morrison for not owning up to his mistakes.

“I don’t pretend to be perfect. What I do, though, is accept responsibility. And I step up and I won’t go missing,” Albanese said on the eve of the election.

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