The narrow favourite to become Australia’s new prime minister teared up in a final emotional speech, as he called on voters to put an end to nearly a decade of conservative rule in Saturday’s elections.
Anthony Albanese, the opposition Australian Labor leader, is tipped to win the general election, despite Scott Morrison’s Liberal-led ruling coalition narrowing the gap in recent weeks.
According to the latest Newspoll, commissioned by the Weekend Australian, Labor has a lead of 53 per cent to 47 per cent in a two-party preferred system, where voters’ second preferences are taken into consideration.
If that prediction turns out to be correct, Labor would be able to form a majority government.
The party got an unexpected boost on Friday, after a leak alleged that the government rejected a proposal to double Australian aid spending in the Pacific in a bid to counter Chinese influence, because it was too expensive. This year, it emerged that Beijing had struck a controversial security pact with the Solomon Islands.
On Friday, Mr Morrison brushed off both the leak and the polls. “Not everybody’s agreed with me and not everybody likes me – but that’s not the point,” he said of his last three years in charge.
If successful, Mr Albanese, 59, would cap a career that saw him work his way up from a parliamentary researcher to deputy prime minister in the Kevin Rudd government.
Speaking to voters in Adelaide on Friday, he fought back tears as he recalled his working class childhood growing up in a Sydney council house, with a single mother on a disability support pension.
“It says a lot about this country that someone from those beginnings can stand before you today, hoping to be elected prime minister of this country tomorrow,” he said, his voice cracking.
Mr Albanese has regularly cited his family background and difficult upbringing as an inspiration for his Left-leaning politics.
His Italian-born father met his mother, Maryanne, on a cruise ship, but left when he was little.
Mr Albanese grew up believing his father had died in a road accident, only later learning that Carlo Albanese was alive in Italy. They reunited in 2009.
My past “gave me a determination, each and every day, to help the people like I was, growing up to have a better life”, he told the National Press Club this year.
The post Favourite in Australian election fights back the tears as he recalls difficult working class childhood appeared first on The Telegraph.