Who is Anthony Albanese?

Thursday, June 27, 2013
Who is Anthony Albanese?
Anthony Albanese after being voted deputy prime minister last night.

With Kevin Rudd returned to power, there's inevitably a widespread sense of deja vu. But the appointment of a less recognisable minister, Anthony Albanese, as deputy prime minister has piqued the curiosity of many Australians.

In his first speech in the new role, he referred to his humble beginnings as a boy raised by a single mother in a council house.

He also spoke of his commitment to core Labor values and paid tribute to ex-Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Within the party, he is described as popular, enthusiastic and, perhaps most importantly, a survivor.

For many, though, questions remain. Who is Albanese and where does he fit into the new Labor leadership?

Born in 1963, Albanese was bought up in social housing in Camperdown, a once rough suburb in Sydney's inner-west that has since undergone significant gentrification.

He was raised by a mother who he says taught him to be faithful to "the Catholic Church, the South Sydney Football Club and Labor".

"I was told that you always had to stand up for what you believed in, regardless of the odds," he said in a press conference announcing his support for Rudd before a failed ballot last year.

He became involved in student politics at university before moving into work at the NSW Labor party. After working as a senior advisor to then NSW Premier Bob Carr, he won the seat of Grayndler in the 1996 election.

Among key issues he campaigned on were the need for a second airport in Sydney, euthanasia and gay rights. He opposed ex-Prime Minister John Howard's proposals to develop nuclear energy.

In 2011, he came under fire for dismissing a protest against carbon tax and fuel costs by truck drivers as "a convoy of no consequence".

Despite openly backing Rudd throughout Gillard's reign, Albanese has kept his job and even earned praise from the ex-Prime Minister, who refused his offer to resign at Rudd's failed leadership overthrow last year.

"I can't imagine a government I lead without Anthony Albanese fighting beside me," Gillard said at the time.

Commentators attribute Albanese's staying power to his ability to unify and communicate with both sides of the party, maintaining a sense of humour that can relieve tensions.

He is respected for his adherence above all to the Labor cause.

A lively combatant in Parliament, he is vociferous in his attacks on Tony Abbott.

A music fan and self-described "non-practicing Catholic", Albanese is married to fellow Labor politician Carmel Tebutt. The couple has one son.

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