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Who is Anthony Albanese?

Who is Anthony Albanese?

In this election, Anthony Albanese is running to become the next Prime Minister.

He leads the Labor Party, which has been in Opposition since 2013.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll explain Labor’s election policies and promises.

But first: who is Anthony Albanese?

Before Politics

Anthony Albanese was born to a single mother in council housing in western Sydney. Before entering Parliament, Albanese worked in a range of jobs for the Labor Party, including as an adviser to former NSW Premier Bob Carr.

He was a member of the ‘Hard Left’ faction in the NSW Labor Party (factions are informal groupings within political parties).

Entering Politics

Albanese entered Parliament in 1996 as the Member for the electorate of Grayndler.

Grayndler is a safe Labor seat that has never been won by another party.

It is a very progressive electorate: in the last election, the Greens received more votes than the Liberals.

Rudd and Gillard

Albanese’s first 11 years in Parliament were spent in Opposition during the Prime Ministership of Liberal John Howard.

When Labor returned to Government in 2007, Albanese became Minister for Infrastructure and Transport – a position he held until Labor lost Government in 2013. He was also the Leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives, responsible for co-ordinating the Government’s agenda in Parliament.

Leadership Turmoil

Albanese was an ally of Kevin Rudd and publicly opposed Labor’s decision to replace Rudd with Julia Gillard in 2010.

Albanese continued to serve in his positions under Gillard’s leadership, but supported a return to Kevin Rudd as leader in 2012 and became Rudd’s deputy leader.

Albanese V Shorten

Before he lost the 2013 election, Kevin Rudd changed Labor’s process for selecting leaders, giving ordinary Labor members a 50% say and Labor MPs a 50% say (instead of leaving the decision entirely to Labor MPs).

When Rudd stepped down as leader after the election loss, Albanese and Bill Shorten were the two candidates to become leader. Albanese won 48% of the overall vote, whilst Shorten won 52% of the vote and became Leader of the Opposition.

Albanese served in Shorten’s Shadow Cabinet (the leadership group from the Opposition which ‘shadows’ Government Ministers), retaining the policy areas of Infrastructure and Transport. He was also the Shadow Minister for Tourism.

Shorten led Labor to two election defeats in 2016 and 2019 and stepped down as leader in 2019.

Albanese was subsequently appointed unopposed as Labor Leader.

The Past Three Years

As Opposition Leader, Albanese has criticised several Government policies.

In his budget reply, Albanese’s major announcement was a policy to improve standards in aged care if the Labor Party wins the election.

In the past few years, a major criticism from Albanese was the Government’s JobKeeker package, saying it “went to a range of companies… that increased their profits during that period” making it the “most wasteful [package] in Australian political history”.

More recently, Albanese said Morrison took too long to declare a national emergency during the flood crisis in NSW and Queensland.

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