Australia’s new prime minister, Anthony Albanese, will be sworn in on Monday after outgoing prime minister Scott Morrison conceded defeat in Friday’s election.
Albanese, 59, is a centre-left politician who leads the Australian Labor Party, which is set to form its first government in about a decade after winning seats in parliament.
Albanese lives in Sydney, one of Australia’s largest cities, and is a Catholic, father and owner of a dog named Toto.
Here are five things to know about Australia’s new prime minister.
Albanese grew up with her mother in public housing inside the western part of Sydney, according to her online biography.
In 1984, he graduated from the University of Sydney with a bachelor’s degree in economics before winning election to the Australian Parliament in 1996 to represent his native region of Grayndler.
Albanese championed Australia’s first law giving same-sex couples the same rights as opposite-sex couples. He served as Deputy Prime Minister in former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s second government, formed in 2013.
“I hope there are families in social housing watching this tonight,” Albanese said in his victory speech on Saturday, “because I want every parent to be able to tell their child that no matter where you come from, the doors of opportunity are open to all of us.”
First Labor PM since 2013
Albanese, who became Labor leader in 2019, is its first prime minister since 2013.
Labor was in power from 2007 to 2013 under Rudd and Julia Gillard.
Albanese has focused on issues such as climate change, making childcare more affordable, and expanding government-funded health services.
In his victory speech on Saturday, Albanese said “the people of Australia voted for change” and he promised to “make a positive difference every day”.
Labor’s victory was widely seen as a referendum against Morrison, who admitted before the election he could be ‘a bit of a bulldozer’ and needed to change.
Will attend the Quad Summit
Albanese will participate in the so-called Quad Summit in Toyko on Tuesday with US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Morrison conceded the race despite millions of ballots still being counted because it was imperative Australia send a leader to the top, according to the Associated Press.
The four countries are forming a new Indo-Pacific security partnership designed to counter China. The leaders are likely to discuss issues such as Beijing’s expansion into the South China Sea, which includes building artificial islands and naval bases.
Outgoing Trade Minister Dan Tehan told Sky News Australia that it was ‘absolutely vital’ for Albanians to attend the meeting, saying ‘it has never been more important that we get the right geo-strategic environment in the Indo-Pacific for the future of our nation.”
Climate advocate but cautious on coal
Albanese has been outspoken on climate change as Australia has been beleaguered by climate-related natural disasters, including searing wildfires that started in 2019 and scorched millions of acres.
However, Albanese has signaled that it will not phase out coal – unlike another left-wing party, the Greens, which also won notable victories in parliament on election day.
Albanese and Labor are reluctant to tackle the coal industry after losing the 2019 election following combative rhetoric against the industry, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
However, Labor is behind aggressive climate action, including cutting carbon emissions by 43% from 2005 levels by 2030.
Australia is also one of the world’s largest producers of coal and gas and has been called upon to tackle emissions and fossil fuels more deeply.
Promise of Unity
Albanese promised in his victory speech that his team “will work every day to bring Australians together. And I will lead a government worthy of the Australian people.
However, it is unclear whether he will govern with a majority in parliament or whether he will rely on a coalition with the Greens or the Independents.
Albanese has pledged to hold a referendum on the creation of an indigenous advisory body in parliament during his three-year term.
The Labor leader also thanked Morrison in his speech, saying the outgoing Prime Minister had “very graciously wished me luck”.