Anthony Albanese and Peter Dutton have poked fun at their sons and thanked their families as parliament draws to a close for the year.
The opposition leader gave a window into his family life at the Australian Chamber of Commerce business leaders summit at Parliament House.
Mr Dutton shared his relief that his eldest son Harry’s Schoolies experience was ruined by Covid during questions after his speech on Wednesday.
‘The most important thing to me is family, I’ve got three children. They’re getting older now, Rebecca’s 20, Harry is 1, and Tom’s 17,’ he said.
Opposition Leader with his wife Kirilly and children Rebecca, Harry, and Tom. File photo from when they were all much younger
He turned 52 on November 18 and had a late night celebrating with his friend, and enjoys that his birthday is on that date as it creates a ‘downhill run to Christmas’ – but that was interrupted this year.
‘Harry’s just finished Year 12 and been on the Gold Coast at Schoolies so when I said it was a downhill run to Christmas, I meant except for that.
‘But four days in [my wife] Kirilly texted me to say Harry was diagnosed with Covid and I replied ‘gold, that’s great’. So he had to come home early and we avoided the worst excesses of Schoolies.
‘I hope his brother contracts a mild version of it next year when he finishes Year 12.’
Mr Dutton also had a joke at his own expense as he explained the toll his 21 years in federal parliament took on his hairline.
‘As you can see, it’s advanced the ageing process,’ he quipped.
Mr Dutton also had a joke at his own expense as he explained the toll his 21 years in federal parliament took on his hairline
The prime minister had plenty to say about his family as he and Mr Dutton gave their end of year speeches to parliament on Thursday morning.
He revealed he had a ‘big surprise’ for his son Nathan, whose birthday is next week – a personal recording by Amy Taylor from rock band Amyl and the Sniffers made in his office.
His revelation prompted shocked looks from other MPs worried he’d ruined the surprise.
‘It is OK! He is 22, he is not watching parliament. And neither are any of his friends,’ Mr Albanese declared to chuckles around the chamber.
‘There’s a lot more to do in the inner-west of Sydney than watch parliament, I can assure you.’
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told parliament what he was getting his son Nathan (pictured together) for his 22nd birthday next week
He revealed the ‘big surprise’ for his son Nathan was a personal recording by Amy Taylor from rock band Amyl and the Sniffers made in his office (pictured with the band at the time)
Mr Albanese praised his son, whom he considers his ‘best mate’, as a ‘great young man he was immensely proud of.
‘He will turn 22 next week, and it goes quick. So for those with little ones in this chamber, cherish every moment because before you know it, they will be six foot four and informing you about the latest musical trends,’ he said.
‘It’s been terrific as well to have him by my side each and every day, whether physically or not. He is by my side and we talk every single day on the phone.’
The PM also thanked his girlfriend Jodie Haydon for accompanying him on ‘this journey’ in a year of great change for their lives.
‘[Jodi is] someone who didn’t have a political life is suddenly in camera shots with [French First Lady] Brigitte Macron, and engaging in a range of activities which a few years ago… [she] would not have anticipated,’ he said.
‘But she has, I think, represented Australia at appropriate times with dignity and honour.’
Mr Albanese also thanked his key cabinet by name, his staff, and his security detail for putting up with his ‘spontaneity’.
‘It is the most challenging change in my life, which is full of positives,’ he said, explaining that whenever he said ‘we are off to the Oils at the Pavilion’ they knew he wouldn’t be staying in his seat and needed to rock out.
Mr Albanese praised his girlfriend Jodie Haydon (second from right) saying just a few years ago she wouldn’t have anticipated posing with French First Lady Brigitte Macron (right)
He thanked Ms Haydon for accompanying him on ‘this journey’ in a year of great change for their lives
The PM then compared his ‘open door policy’ to that of his predecessor Scott Morrison
‘I attended the actual prime minister’s office in 2019 on the day that parliament began. That was the last time I was in that office until I went in as prime minister,’ he said.
‘The leader of the opposition has been in there many, many times as have crossbench members of parliament, as has the leader of the National party.
‘My door is open and I see and take my responsibility to lead the country and to engage with each and every member in a serious way.’
Both he and Mr Dutton hit out at protesters who regularly picket their electorate offices, accusing them of stopping ‘vulnerable’ constituents from coming inside to ask for help from their MPs.
Mr Dutton thanked his staff and Australian Federal Police protection officers for dealing with protesters, as well as numerous death threats.
‘The work that they do, and it’s hard to describe to a lot of people, but the respect, again, that they have for us and for our life, our privacy,’ he said.
The Prime Minister’s dad-dancing was caught on camera in October as he enjoyed a night out with Jodie at a Midnight Oil concert. On Thursday he thanked his security detail for helping him be able to let his hair down
‘I’ve been blessed with three beautiful children and an amazingly supportive wife. They copped the death threats and all the rest of it as well.
‘And they’re stoic and they put up with it, but in part it’s because of that atmosphere that the AFP are able to create both on the road and at home in protecting my family when I am not there.’
Mr Dutton also praised his fellow MPs for ‘their sacrifice’ in spending 20 weeks of the year in Canberra away from their families.
‘It’s worth the sacrifice because this country deserves a very bright future,’ he said.
‘As I say to kids when I go to schools in my electorate, there are good and bad people on both sides of politics.
‘But the vast majority are good and have only the best interests of our country at heart.
‘And if we’re embarking on that destination on occasions we take different paths to get there as parties. But ultimately we have the same good intent for our country.’
Mr Albanese praised his son (pictured at his election victory speech on May 21), whom he considers his ‘best mate’, as a ‘great young man he was immensely proud of
The Prime Minister grinned ear-to-ear as he stood beside Nathan who graduated from Sydney’s University of Technology with a business degree earlier this year
Mr Albanese also revealed how he would spend Christmas morning.
‘It’ll be the same way he does every year, at the Ashfield church in his inner-western Sydney electorate with Reverend Bill Crews,’ he said.
Mr Crews runs the Exodus Foundation which provides free meals to thousands of homeless and disadvantaged Australians every week, including Christmas lunch.
‘Last year, the queues for Christmas lunch began at 6am in order for people to get a proper feed on Christmas Day and for their children to get gifts,’ Mr Albanese said.
‘I look forward to this year going there for the first time as prime minister and sharing my morning with those wonderful people.’
Mr Albanese (left) and Mr Dutton (right) shake hands on the floor of parliament after delivering their speeches, in a show of Christmas unity