Canberra, Australia (AP) – The illegitimate son of a single mother who raised him on a pension, Anthony Albanese has made a humble beginning to life for an aspiring Australian prime minister.
But despite his disadvantaged upbringing in public housing in Sydney, the man known as Elbow since childhood has risen to the helm of the centre-left Australian Labor Party and is now potentially realizing his ambition to lead a national government. Only one election away.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an election on May 21.
As a young child, in order to save Albanese from the scandal of being illegitimate in a working-class Roman Catholic family in socially conservative 1960s Australia, she was told that her Italian father, Carlo Albanese, had her ethnic-Irish Australian. He died in a car accident soon after marrying. Mother Maryanne Ellery in Europe.
His mother, who became an invalid pensioner due to chronic rheumatoid arthritis, told him the truth at the age of 14: his father had not died and his parents had never married.
Carlo Albanese was a steward on a cruise ship when the couple met in 1962 on the only foreign trip of their lives. According to Anthony Albanese’s 2016 biography, “Albanese: Telling It Straight,” she returned to Sydney from her seven-month trip from Asia to Britain and continental Europe, about four months pregnant.
She was living with her parents at their local government-owned home in inner-suburban Camperdown when her only child was born on March 2, 1963.
Loyalty to his mother and fear of hurting his feelings, Albanese waited until after his death in 2002 before searching for his father.
Father and son happily reunite in 2009 in the father’s hometown of Barreta in southern Italy. Son was in Italy for business meetings as Australia’s Minister of Transport and Infrastructure.
Anthony Albanese was a minister in power in Labor’s most recent six years and rose to his highest position – deputy prime minister – in the last three months of his government, ending with the 2013 election.
“It says the great thing about our country that the son of a (single) parent who grew up in a council house in Sydney can be Australia’s deputy prime minister,” Albanese said. He had defeated the son of a former deputy prime minister in the ballot of fellow MPs for the post.
But critics of Albanese argue that it is not his humble background but his left-wing politics that makes him unfit to be prime minister.
The Conservative government argues that he will be the most left-wing Australian leader in nearly 50 years since crash-or-crash-through reformer Gough Whitlam, a flawed hero of the Labor Party.
In 1975, Whitlam became the only Australian prime minister to be ousted from office by a British monarch’s representative in what has been described as a constitutional crisis.
Whitlam began during his brief but turbulent three years in power open university education, which enabled Albanians to graduate from the University of Sydney with an economics degree despite their meager financial resources.
Supporters of Albanese argue that while he belonged to Labor’s so-called socialist leftist faction, he was a pragmatist with a proven ability to deal with the more conservative elements of the party.
The Albanese were described as a change in the past year, opting for more fashionable suits and glasses. He has also lost 18 kg (40 lb), in what many believe is an attempt to make himself more attractive to voters.
Albanese says he believed he was about to die in a two-car collision in Sydney in January last year and that was the catalyst for his healthier life choices. He briefly resigned himself to a fate he once believed was his father.
After the accident, Albanese spent a night in a hospital and was described as having external and internal injuries that he did not elaborate on. A 17-year-old boy behind the wheel of a Range Rover SUV that collided with a much smaller Toyota Camry sedan from Albanese has been charged with reckless driving.
To reveal who he was to Australia’s National Press Club in January, Albanese replied that he was the son of a pensioner mother who grew up with the security of a home provided by the local government.
Albanese said he was 12 when he joined his first political campaign. His fellow public housing tenants successfully defeated a local council proposal to sell their homes – a move that would have increased their rents – in a campaign that involved the council’s refusal to pay in a so-called rent strike. Included.
The unpaid rent loan was forgiven, which Albanese described as a “lesson for those who were not part of the rent strike: solidarity works.
“As I grew up, I understood the impact government can have on making a difference in people’s lives,” Albanese said. “And especially, for occasion.”