Australia’s new prime minister, Anthony Albanese, will be sworn in Monday after outgoing Prime Minister Scott Morrison conceded defeat in Friday’s election.
Albanese, 59, is a center-left politician who leads the Australian Labor Party, which is set to form its first government in nearly a decade after securing seats in Parliament.
Albanese lives in Sydney, one of Australia’s largest, 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 his mother in public housing within the inner western part of Sydney, according to his online biography.
In 1984, he graduated from the University of Sydney with a bachelor’s degree in economics before winning the Australian Parliament elections in 1996 to represent his home region of Griindler.
Albanese advocated the first law in Australia to give same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples. He served as Deputy Prime Minister in the second government of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, which was formed in 2013.
“I hope there will be families in public housing watching tonight,” “Because I want every parent to be able to tell their children that no matter where you come from, the doors of opportunity are open to all of us,” Albanese said in his victory speech on Saturday.
First Labor Prime Minister since 2013
Albanese, who became Labor leader in 2019, is the party’s first prime minister since 2013.
The Labor Party held power from 2007 to 2013 under the leadership of Rudd and Julia Gillard.
Albanese focused on issues including climate change, making child care affordable and expanding government-subsidized health care services.
In his victory speech on Saturday, Albanese said “the Australian people have voted for change” and promised to “make a positive difference every day”.
The Labor victory was widely seen as a referendum against Morrison, who admitted before the election that he could be “a bit of a bulldozer” and needed to change.
He will attend the four-way summit
Albanese will attend the so-called quartet summit in Toiko on Tuesday with US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Morrison gave up the race although millions of votes continued to be counted because it was imperative that Australia send a leader to the top, according to the Associated Press.
The four countries form a new security partnership in the Indo-Pacific region aimed at confronting China. The leaders are likely to discuss issues including Beijing’s expansion in the South China Sea, which includes building artificial islands and naval bases.
Outgoing Commerce Minister Dan Tehan told Sky News Australia that it was “very vital” that Albanese attend the meeting, saying: “It has never been so important that we get the right geostrategic environment in the Indo-Pacific region for our nation’s future.”
Climate supporter but keen on coal
Albanese has been vocal about climate change as Australia has been beleaguered by climate-related natural disasters, including scorching bushfires that began in 2019 and erupted across millions of acres.
However, Albanese has indicated he will not give up on coal – unlike another left-wing party, the Greens, which also scored notable victories in Parliament on Election Day.
Albanese and Labor are hesitant to confront the coal industry after losing an election in 2019 following hostile rhetoric against the industry, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Labor is behind tough climate action, including cutting carbon emissions by 43 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.
Australia is also one of the world’s largest producers of coal and gas and has faced calls to combat emissions and fossil fuels more deeply.
The promise of unity
Albanese pledged in his victory speech that his team “will work every day to bring Australians together. I will lead a government worthy of the people of Australia.”
However, it is not clear whether it will rule with a majority in parliament or rely on an alliance with the Greens or the independents.
Albanese pledged to hold a referendum on the creation of an advisory body for the Indigenous Parliament during his three-year term.
Labor leader Morrison also thanked in his speech, saying the outgoing prime minister “wish me all the best”.