The very first day in office should be a sign: don’t waste any time. First Australia’s new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of the Labor Party took the oath of office, then he set off on his first trip abroad.
In Tokyo, the 59-year-old will meet US President Joe Biden and the heads of state of Japan and India.
Coal phase-out, climate change, sector coupling: The briefing for the energy and climate sector. For decision makers
The official final result of the Australian parliamentary election was not yet official at this point. But one thing is clear: the Albanian Social Democrats will be the strongest faction – and thus automatically make up the head of government under Australian law.
Albanese also explained that he had secured the support of green and independent MPs in order to get a majority in parliament.
Albanese was able to end almost ten years of conservative dominance. A success that many Down Under did not believe him capable of. For a long time, the trained banker was considered a conservative administrative specialist, but not as a potential head of government who wants to lead Australia into a climate-neutral future.
Albanese grew up as the son of a single mother in the poorest of circumstances in Sydney. “It was just her and me. This trust of having a mother who loves you unconditionally shapes me to this day,” Albanese said in an interview.
After all, it was his mother who supported him in his goal of being the first in his family to graduate from high school and later to study. During the election campaign, Albanese said: “The fact that her child has a chance to become prime minister shows how brave and strong she was.”
But not only the financial situation made it difficult for him as a young man – the name was also a burden. “It just doesn’t sound like the Anglo-Celtic names of everyone else around me,” says Albanese himself. Today he jokes about being the first prime minister with a foreign-sounding name.
His mother had been telling him for a long time that his father – an Italian – was dead. It was not until he was in his mid-30s that Albanese went in search and found his living father in Barletta in southern Italy.
Albanese had already begun to get involved in politics at school. In 1996 he became a member of parliament for the first time and later became Minister of Transport, among other things.
But then came January 2021. Albanese was seriously injured in an accident with his car. “I thought that was it now,” he says today about the hours that followed. But he fought back – and changed.
Instead of a cash register frame, he now wears fashionable glasses, and instead of old sacks, he wears tailor-made suits. “Sexy Albo” is what the Australians now jokingly call him. The marriage with his wife, who is 16 years his junior, also falls at this time.
And he made a decision: After a few defeats, the Social Democratic Labor Party was on the bottom, Albanese wanted to lead it back up.
He tried to present himself as a willing and uncompromising counterpart to Prime Minister Scott Morrison. But above all as a fighter against climate change, which Morrison never took seriously.
The plan worked out over the weekend. Albanese declared on the evening of the election that he wanted to make Australia “a superpower of renewable energies”. The majority of Australians support him in this. At the summit meeting in Tokyo, he now has the chance to show exactly what he envisions.