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Albo’s softer side: Puff piece reveals love, loss and the father he never knew

Anthony Albanese has provided a glimpse into his life outside of politics, including his difficult upbringing, in a revealing magazine interview.

Feb 24, 2022, updated Feb 24, 2022
Leader of the Opposition Anthony Albanese and partner Jodie Haydon at the National Press Club in Canberra, Tuesday, January 25, 2022. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas) NO ARCHIVING

Leader of the Opposition Anthony Albanese and partner Jodie Haydon at the National Press Club in Canberra, Tuesday, January 25, 2022. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas) NO ARCHIVING

In an interview with the Australian Women’s Weekly, the Labor leader details the car accident that changed his life, his unconventional childhood and his relationship with his partner of two years Jodie Haydon.

The federal opposition leader grew up in council housing in Camperdown, raised by single mother Maryanne Ellery.

Albanese credits his love of rock music to his Camperdown neighbours and still attends music festivals, DJs charity events and votes in the Hottest 100.

Labor MP Linda Burney says Albanese understands social justice because he’s lived it.

“His life experiences really inform the person he is and the way he works with people,” she told The Weekly.

On an overseas trip, Maryanne fell pregnant at the age of 25 to Italian steward Carlo Albanese who later told her he was already engaged to marry someone from his hometown.

Although Maryanne was advised to adopt out baby Anthony, in order to keep him she came up with a story that she had married Carlo overseas but he had died suddenly in a car accident.

“It was really courageous of her. It was expected that I would be given up for adoption, but she didn’t want to do that, and she was strong enough to resist it,” Mr Albanese said.

He only found out the story had been made up when he was 14 years old.

“When Mum told me, I was very much, ‘Well, he chose not to be part of my life. I don’t need anything from him’. Mum said, ‘He might still be alive, if you’re interested in trying to find him’. And I was immediately like: ‘No, I’m not’,” he told The Weekly.

“I didn’t want to disrespect her, and I think if I’d said, ‘Yeah, I need to find him immediately’, it would have been saying she wasn’t enough. And she was enough for me.”

It was only after his mother’s death in 2002 that Mr Albanese decided to find his father, which ended up being a long, complicated search across three countries.

In 2010, he found Carlo in Italy – as well as a half-sister and brother – and even after Carlo’s death in 2014 the family remains in touch.

Just over 12 months ago, Mr Albanese was involved in a life-threatening car accident in Sydney’s inner west.

A 17-year-old in a Range Rover had driven onto the wrong side of the road, colliding with the opposition leader’s car.

Haydon – a strategic partnership manager for an industry super fund – told The Weekly the accident made her realise the depth of their relationship.

“It was very scary, and in that moment, you realise just how much you love this person, the fear of losing them,” she said.

“I know the months ahead (of the election) will be intense. But my focus will simply be to support each other through it.”

Meanwhile, in another interview with The Australian Financial Review published on Thursday, Albanese said he was hoping for a clear Labor victory at this year’s election and wants voters to see him as a safe pair of hands.

“I’m absolutely determined to have a majority government and think that we will,” he said.

“I’m not promising to change everything.

“I’m very conscious of saying ‘here’s safe change, here are the changes I’ll make’.”

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