Anthony Albanese, the leader of Australia’s Labor Party, was sworn in as the country’s 31st prime minister on Monday, and pledged a “journey of change” to deal climate change, growing living costs, and inequality.
Labor has returned to power after nine years in opposition, thanks to a surge of historic support for the Greens and climate-focused independents, primarily women, who helped the conservative coalition lose nearly a decade of dominance on Saturday.
Albanese was sworn in so he could attend a vital meeting of the “Quad” security grouping in Tokyo on Tuesday, while ballots are still being counted and the government’s makeup is still being finalised.
Albanese, raised in public housing by a single mother on a disability pension, was sworn in by Governor-General David Hurley at a ceremony in the national capital, Canberra.
“It’s a big day in my life but a big day for the country, when we change the government,” Albanese told reporters outside his Sydney suburban home ahead of the ceremony.
I want to bring the country together to shape the change – Anthony Albanese
“I want to channel the opportunity that we have to shape change so that we bring people with us on the journey of change. I want to bring the country together.” Anthony Albanese vowed.
Richard Marles, the Deputy Labor Leader, and three key ministers – Penny Wong, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Jim Chalmers, the Treasurer, and Katy Gallagher, the Finance Minister – were also sworn in, with Wong joining Albanese on the Quad tour.
Albanese said he spoke with US Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday night and was looking forward to meeting him on Tuesday with Japan and India’s prime leaders. On Wednesday, he will return to Australia.
“This visit is in line with what the Albanese Government views as Australia’s three pillars of foreign policy: our alliance with the US, our involvement with the region, and our support for multilateral forums,” Albanese said in a statement.