So many likes

While I was watching Harry Styles clips on Saturday night, the youngest was swanning around with four generations of Bob Hawke’s family at the official launch the Bob Hawke Beer and Leisure Centre in Marrickville.

I was very, very jealous, as I have a bit of a girl crush on Albo. It’s even bigger than the one I have on Harry Styles.

I make no promises about how Albo will run the country, and he’s got a bloody tough run ahead of him in the current economic climate. Australia faces rising inflation rates, rising energy prices … rising everything really, well, except house prices, which are predicted to plummet.

But I am so happy that someone who appears to kind and empathetic is in charge. I see the posts on his social media pages and I feel calm and delighted in equal measures.

I’ve started following him on Facebook and Instagram and it is so sweet to see him hugging everyone from his fluffy dog to his local pharmacist to Jacinda Ardern …

Albo’s selfie smile even thaws my frosty regard for Mark McGowan.

And I get a bit teary every time I see photos of Biloela welcoming home Nadesalingam family after four long, cruel years.

I think we all need his style of leadership right now.

As Katharine Murphy notes at The Guardian: “Albanese feels as much as he calculates – a [Bob] Hawke trait.”

Young Albo first met Bob back in 1986.

Perhaps that is what draws me to Albo, as Bob Hawke’s legacy and achievements awe me.

Bob’s heartfelt response to the Tiananmen Square massacre, for example, will stay with me forever.

Six days after the horrors took place, he cried on national television as he described the terrible events. And he took action – spontaneously announcing that thousands of Chinese students in Australia would have their visas extended so they would be safe.

“When I walked off the dais,” Hawke said later, “I was told: ‘You cannot do that, prime minister.’ I said to them, ‘I just did. It is done.’”

I won’t include a video of the speech here, because it is pretty harrowing viewing. But you can find it on YouTube if you haven’t seen it.

I cried when I heard Bob died in 2019 and I cried again when I read an old HouseGoesHome blog post from back then, where Bob predicted that Labor would win the next election, but didn’t think he would be around to see it.

“I’ve had my time,” the former prime minister said.

He got it slightly wrong, it’s Albo, not Shorten who has finally led Labor to victory.

Bob’s widow Blanche d’Alpuget said on Saturday: “Bob was a big Albo supporter and one of the last speeches — it might have been the very last speech he gave — was for Albo’s 20th year in parliament. By then Bob was really quite sick, but he rose to the occasion.”

I am disappointed that I didn’t make the most of meeting Albo last year at Chuck Hahn’s 50 years of brewing party.

I was a bit sloshed when I found myself standing in a group of people, one of who, I thought was the head of Coopers Brewing. I was about to tell him how much I admired his beer brand when I felt a twinge of uncertainty.

I whispered in the ear of the woman standing beside me: “Is that Tim Cooper or Anthony Albanese?”

It was Anthony Albanese. The leader of the Australian Labor Party.

So I told him how awesome I thought his campaign launch was … and about the time Tanya Pilbersek turned up at my house for dinner on the wrong night and I opened the door in pyjamas …

It was such a surreal, bulk fun, I laughed all the way home in the cab as I thought about it.

And I smile now to know that he is trying to do the best for his country.

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