AMAC Exclusive – By Ben Solis
When Joe Biden met with Australia’s new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Tokyo last week, the scene was reminiscent of two old friends greeting one another. Indeed, the two have worked together before back in 2013, when then-Vice President Biden coordinated with then-Deputy Minister of Australia Albanese on matters of foreign policy. But now, both men are in charge of their respective countries – and if Albanese’s personal and political parallels with Joe Biden are any indication, Australians may be in for a similarly rough ride as Americans have faced the past two years.
In the summer of 2009, when Barack Obama announced that Senator Joe Biden would be his running mate, the leftist press overseas tried to portray Biden as moderate, educated, cultured, and as poor as a church mouse. A nostalgic photo of Joe Biden on public transport filled magazine covers, along with a small house and a band of his little children. Raised in a humble neighborhood, charitable to the poor, and a devout Catholic is how they described the U.S. Senator. Many Americans knew the truth, of course, but the audience abroad was by and large none the wiser.
Holding to this pattern, the left-wing media in the United States is attempting to run the same play with Anthony Albanese, taking their cue from the Sydney Morning Herald, who dubbed him “Mr. Authentic.” Time Magazine praised the new Australian leader for promising to “improve gender equality in the workforce, to make childcare cheaper, and the publicly funded health system stronger.” A glowing profile in the Washington Post even directly compares Mr. Albanese to Mr. Biden, describing him as “a Catholic with an affinity for the working class, a veteran of his center-left party and a folksy if uncharismatic campaigner who overcame stumbles to topple a divisive opponent.”
But just like Joe Biden, Albanese is no moderate, and his folksy demeanor masks a commitment to governing principles that may prove disastrous if enacted. It was not without reason that former Liberal Party (in Australia, the Liberal Party represents center-right interests) Prime Minister John Howard labelled Albanese a “left-wing inner-city bomb thrower” who was not up to leading the country.
Albanese, a career politician with decades in government, has a long record of punishing entrepreneurs and discouraging innovation. As just one example, his carbon pricing regulation, ostensibly designed to combat climate change, hiked electricity prices by 13 percent and gas prices by 12 percent, contributing to an overall 10-year increase of 72 percent for electricity and 54 percent for gas. When rising electricity and gas prices hit working Australian households hard, the leftist government, with Albanese as a Government Minister, advised hugging a pet when the temperature was cold or having dinner in the dark to cut costs.
On the campaign trail, Albanese fantasized that soon electric car owners will drive for free with solar panels on the roof whilst charging overnight, a claim rebuked even by fanatic enemies of traditional cars. Little is known about his economic plan, as he would questions about it during press conferences, confirming Howard’s suspicion that he is indeed not up to leading the country. Two weeks before the election, at the same press conference where he attacked his rival Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Albanese failed to recall the details of his party’s plan to improve the national disability insurance scheme.
Albanese’s personal background also raises concerning questions about his fitness to govern. As a student, Albanese led anarchists and far-leftist demonstrators who occupied classrooms for ten days. When his antagonist of many years, Sydney Airport Corporation Chair Max Moore-Wilton, announced his retirement by media release in 2015, Albanese issued a release of his own that contained one word: “Good.”
There are even some questions about whether or not the public can trust Albanese’s statements about his past – something Americans are familiar with as well when it comes to Joe Biden’s repeated false telling of his own family’s history.
With repeated stories about growing up in public housing with his chronically ill mother, Albanese, like Biden, presented himself as an impoverished child who overcame the odds to become Prime Minister. But that’s not exactly true. His mother had arthritis, a painful disease to be sure but not the debilitating type of illness one might expect from the way Albanese often talks about it. While Albanese may have started from a humble background, his career in public service has proven unusually lucrative, as he just sold his property in Sydney for $2.35 million dollars. His real estate portfolio of several homes in Sydney and Canberra is worth about $5 million dollars.
Another thing Albanese seems to have in common with the U.S. President – and another reason to distrust his public image – is his relationship with the Catholic Church, which seems by all accounts to be contingent upon political expediency rather than genuine faith. While the Catholic Church has repeatedly condemned abortion, both Albanese and Biden have described themselves as pro-choice, and have pushed for policies to expand and even encourage abortion access. As a potential sign of things to come, when he was sworn into office, Albanese omitted the traditional “so help me God” at the end of his oath.
In Albanese, Australians have a man whom some have already begun referring to as “Aussie Joe.” Except unlike Joe Biden, Albanese has nothing even approaching a parliamentary majority to govern on. Because Australia uses ranked-choice voting, his “majority” is a cobbled-together faction of disparate interests, not a cohesive bloc of support. Albanese thus enters office with no mandate from voters, yet seems determined to advance a far-left agenda anyway.
Australians may thus soon find themselves facing many of the same problems facing Americans today. On matters that require a collective strategic approach, like countering the rising threat from China, this could have drastic implications for ensuring the national security of both countries. Australians – and Americans – should be wary of this threat, and not buy into the media’s rosy depictions of either of their leaders.
Ben Solis is the pen name of an international affairs journalist, historian, and researcher.
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