Congratulations, Albo! Can Australians hope for more family values now?

The day after Valentine’s Day, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, 60, announced his engagement to his partner of three years, Jodie Haydon. He had popped the question to Ms Haydon the night before during a dinner date at The Lodge.

We are thrilled. It is such a joy to be able to share this news with people,” Mr Albanese told cameras while standing with his new fiancée outside the official PM residence on Thursday.

“Its wonderful that Ive found a partner who I want to spend the rest of my life with. (Wednesday) night was a very great occasion here at The Lodge and we couldnt be more happy.”

First, congratulations Mr Albanese and Ms Haydon!

As someone who also waited longer than the average person to find and marry my bride, I can relate to the well-earned joy and contentment of finding a wonderful soulmate.

Seeing a prime minister propose while in high office is uncharted territory for Australians, for whom this week’s events represent a number of other unusual firsts. As reported by The Australian:

This will be Mr Albaneses second time down the aisle. He was previously married to former NSW deputy premier Carmel Tebbutt until 2019. The couple share one son, Nathan, 23.

This will be the first time an Australian prime minister will ­potentially be married while in ­office. All previous leaders, except former Labor leader Julia Gillard and the former Country Partys John McEwen, had spouses.

Ms Haydon, 45, has never been married.

Until recent times, it was a given that the person elected as head of state of a Western nation was married, and had likely already started a family, too.

But, as we are still learning all these decades on, the Sexual Revolution changed everything — even this.

Today, the phenomenon of the footloose-and-fancy-free president, the single-and-ready-to-mingle chancellor, or the dating, de facto and then engaged prime minister is par for the course.



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The former prime ministers of the UK and New Zealand, Boris Johnson and Jacinda Ardern respectively, are two of the more obvious examples in recent times. Twice-divorced Johnson married his live-in girlfriend while occupying 10 Downing Street, while Ardern’s time in office included a pregnancy and a birth and an engagement.

But there are many others.

At least four incumbent European prime ministers were elected while unmarried — including Pedro Sánchez of Spain, Alexander De Croo of Belgium, Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, and Denmark’s Mette Frederiksen. Some have since tied the knot.

There was also 37-year-old Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, who also got married while in office and infamously brought the party to the Social Democratic Party — before abruptly resigning last year and filing for divorce just months later.

And don’t get me started on gay heads of state, who are a genre all of their own, with plenty of drama to boot.

All this to say, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Westerners to expect family values from heads of state who don’t obviously possess them.

If our leaders see marriage as every colour of the rainbow and optional at best, how can we expect to see policies that locate solid marriages and stable families at the centre of national life?

If our leaders aren’t parents, what interest do they have — beyond polling data and focus groups — in robust parental rights and other needs unique to parents?

If our leaders don’t have families, how can they understand the chaos and heartbreak felt by families when drugs are legalised, genders are confused, housing is unaffordable and streets are violent?

God knows, in 2024, Australia is experiencing all of this and much, much more.

So while I am very happy for Mr Albanese, I also have a question for him.

Now that you have embarked on life as a family (albeit of two), can we hope for more family values now?  

Kurt Mahlburg is a writer and author and an emerging Australian voice on culture and the Christian faith. He has a passion for both the philosophical and the personal, drawing on his background as a graduate architect, a primary school teacher, a missionary, and a young adult pastor.

Image: Bigstock 


Showing 4 reactions

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  • John Von Dinklage
    commented 2024-02-28 10:06:08 +1100
    Well said Kurt! Once again you bring family values to our attention which we so badly need in this day and age. Albanese – or “Albotross” as I like to call him – has played a cynical game with Australians in feeding us wedding news while his polls are falling and the country’s number one concern is the rising high cost of living, something he and other pollies have no trouble with on their fat salaries and perks. If I ever became PM I’d push a public stance that all pollies and govt bureaucrats have their fat salaries halved just for starters, then we’ll see who the real leaders are! His political stance (spelt Labor, or better still “Hard Labor” like the excellent cartoon above!) unfortunately will never improve family values for us and will continue to lead us down the path of immoral destruction, so I doubt him getting married will change that. But good of you Kurt to ‘pop that question’ anyway, because that’s the most obvious on people’s minds. Our superficial PM would rather get his tickets to celebrity events like the AO (after rushing back from his token visit to the NT), Taylor Swift and other ‘important’ distractions. Unfortunately he gets the caviar, but let the rest of us ordinary folks eat ‘cake’. He’s the “Albotross” around our necks, and we were so badly (mis)informed when we listened to his ‘wonderful’ election promises! God help us to vote him out.
  • Steven Meyer
    commented 2024-02-19 12:22:11 +1100
    Well said Frank den Hartog.

    This piece is poppycock.
  • Frank den Hartog
    commented 2024-02-18 17:02:15 +1100
    What a cynical, judgemental, superficial, and badly informed piece this is from Mr Mahlburg. It’s that type of comments that makes us, conservatives, so hated by others. First, he should have a look at how well historical leaders practiced family values, particularly the good catholic ones such as Henry I and Louis XIV. They were all married. Or were they? He should study a good number of popes too, by the way! They were all celibate. Or were they? Second, there is really no need to be married or have children to be able to defend and promote family values as a leader. Isn’t it that exactly what many church leaders do so well already? Instead, why don’t we just recognize that being a leader is hard, and being a leader whilst being a good husband and father at the same time is even harder. And celebrate the leaders who HAVE been able to show us the way here (for instance Baudouin of Belgium and Thomas More of England). And pray for the ones who are struggling, and walk with them and help them return to Jerusalem. So I wish Mr Albanese and Ms Haydon all the best together, I’ll pray for them, and I’ll leave the judgement to Somebody Else.
  • mrscracker
    If “partner” means what I think it does I’m very glad to hear he made her an honest woman.
    God bless them both.