Albanese should realise not everyone can second-guess his intentions

It is more than a little surprising that Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has got so much blowback for his announcements at the Canberra women’s rally against domestic violence.

Albanese has never made any secret about his goals during his first term: everything would be aimed at getting re-elected and all that he promised to do during the election campaign would be done. He said that on day one.

That’s why he went ahead with his Voice referendum, even though it became patently clear well before the referendum that he would lose and lose badly. The only change he has made to any of his pre-election promises was to tweak the third-stage tax cuts in a way that he was sure would not have any impact on his poll numbers.

One should note carefully that when Albanese announced nearly a billion dollars in support for fighting violence against women, the timing showed clearly that the money was tied to the next election. Only once he was safely ensconced in the lodge again would the money be doled out. That’s in keeping with his aims.

The smaller amounts of $5000, to help women leave an abusive relationship, were initially meant to be distributed on the same time schedule, but after the blowback, Albanese decided to make them available immediately.

So why were the media surprised at his actions? After all, this is a man who indicated clearly from day one that he wanted at least two terms if not more, and that all he did during the first term would be geared toward getting re-elected.

Perhaps it is because Albanese displayed something of a tin ear in response to the reaction against domestic violence. And he needlessly got into a spat with the organiser of the Canberra rally, Sarah Williams.

He could well have prevented any negative reaction by making donations to the various organisations that actually support women on the ground. The women who run these organisations were among his harshest critics.

But then Albanese has often shown that he is not really able to comprehend the implications of his actions. He is more than a little insensitive to the impact his actions have on other parts of society.

He appears to be under the impression that people will understand that because he grew up in a single-parent household and in poor circumstances his sympathies lie in the right direction.

Guardian Australia journalist Karen Middleton, who has written a biography, was the only one who understood Albanese’s reactions in the context of his life experience.

Wrote Middleton: “What he didn’t say was that as a boy, for a short time, he lived in a home that was far from harmonious. He didn’t and doesn’t want to talk about it but, especially this week, he did want to demonstrate that he understood why the people were taking to the streets. He got it because he’d lived it. And without having to say exactly why, he wanted to show it.

“Albanese publicly revealed this part of his childhood in interviews with me for his biography, Albanese – Telling it Straight, published in 2016. He was extremely insistent that the references be oblique, both out of respect for his late mother, Maryanne, and because it is a painful memory.”

And, she added: “This is why Albanese was determined to attend Sunday’s rally and show support for women suffering violence. The decision was his own and he made it soon after being confronted on live television with details of the murder of 28-year-old Molly Ticehurst, allegedly by her former partner.”

Albanese should have realised that he could not depend on everyone of his critics reading Middleton’s explanation of his behaviour. Given that, it is unlikely that any of those who went after him will change their minds.

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