Australian Prime Minister hopes Albanese had a humble start to life | WJHL
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The son of a single mother who raised him on a pension, Anthony Albanese had a humble start to life for an aspiring Australian prime minister.
But despite his disadvantaged upbringing in Sydney council housing, the man known from childhood as Albo has risen to the top of the centre-left Australian Labor Party and is just one election away from potentially realize his ambition to lead the national government.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an election on May 21.
As a young child, to spare Albanese the scandal of being “illegitimate” in a working-class Roman Catholic family in socially conservative 1960s Australia, he was told that his Italian father Carlo Albanese had died in a car accident shortly after marrying his ethnicity. Irish-Australian mother Maryanne Ellery in Europe.
His mother, who became disabled in retirement due to chronic rheumatoid arthritis, told him the truth when he was 14: his father had not died and his parents had never married.
Carlo Albanese was a cruise ship steward when the couple met in 1962 on the only overseas trip of their lives. She returned to Sydney after her seven-month trip through Asia to Britain and mainland Europe, nearly four months pregnant, according to Anthony Albanese’s 2016 biography, “Albanese: Telling it Straight “.
She was living with her parents in their local government-owned home in the inner suburb of Camperdown when her only child was born on March 2, 1963.
Out of loyalty to his mother and fear of hurting her, Albanese waited until she died in 2002 before searching for his father.
Father and son happily united in 2009 in the father’s hometown of Barletta in southern Italy. The son was in Italy for business meetings as Australia’s transport and infrastructure minister.
Anthony Albanese was a minister for the last six years in Labor power and rose to his highest office – Deputy Prime Minister – in the last three months of his government which ended with the 2013 election.
“It says a lot about our nation that the son of a (single) parent who grew up in a council house in Sydney can be Deputy Prime Minister of Australia,” Albanese said. He had just beaten the son of a former deputy prime minister in a ballot of fellow lawmakers for the job.
But Albanese’s critics say it’s not his humble background but his leftist politics that makes him unfit to be prime minister.
The Conservative government says he would be the most left-leaning Australian leader in almost 50 years since smashing reformer Gough Whitlam, a flawed Labor hero.
In 1975 Whitlam became the only Australian Prime Minister to be ousted from office by the representative of a British monarch in what is described as a constitutional crisis.
Whitlam had introduced during his brief but tumultuous three years in university education without power, which enabled Albanese to earn a degree in economics from the University of Sydney despite his meager financial resources.
Albanese’s supporters argue that while he belonged to the so-called Socialist Left faction of Labour, he was a pragmatist with a proven ability to deal with more conservative elements of the party.
Albanese had undergone what was described as a makeover over the past year, opting for more fashionable suits and eyewear. He also lost 18 kilograms (40 pounds) in what many assume was an effort to make himself more attractive to voters.
Albanese says he believed he was close to death in a two-car collision in Sydney in January last year and it was the catalyst for his healthier lifestyle choices. He had briefly resigned himself to a fate he believed had been his father’s.
After the accident, Albanese spent a night in a hospital and suffered what he described as external and internal injuries which he did not detail. The 17-year-old boy driving the Range Rover SUV which collided with Albanese’s much smaller Toyota Camry sedan has been charged with careless driving.
Asked at the National Press Club of Australia in January to explain who he was, Albanese said he was the son of a retired mother who grew up with the security of a home provided by the local government.
Albanese said he was 12 when he got involved in his first political campaign. His fellow social housing tenants managed to defeat a local council’s proposal to sell their homes – a move that would have raised their rent – in a campaign that involved refusing to pay the council in a so-called rent strike.
The unpaid rent debt was written off, which Albanese described as a “lesson for those who were not part of the rent strike: solidarity works”.
“Growing up, I understood the impact government had, could have, in making a difference in people’s lives,” Albanese said. “And in particular, to opportunity.”