Activist Grace Tame and her fiancé Max Heerey burst into tears when Labor leader Anthony Albanese discussed his tough upbringing, as she interviewed him in a friendly chat for a women’s magazine.
The cosy interview for InStyle Australia came alongside a stylish black-and-white photoshoot where Mr Albanese, dressed in a chic coat, wouldn’t look out of place at a Paris fashion show.
In stark contrast to the frosty behavior she shows to Scott Morrison, sexual assault campaigner Ms Tame revealed she regularly exchanges texts with Mr Albanese – including jokes and birthday messages.
At one point in the chat, the Labor leader recounted how his single mother, Maryanne, struggled to bring him up in her Camperdown council house in Sydney’s Inner West in the 1960s – bringing Ms Tame to tears.
Midway through the video link interview, Mr Albanese suddenly broke off his story when he noticed the tears streaming down Ms Tame’s face.
‘Sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you there…’ he told the former Australian of the year.
Ms Tame replied: ‘No, it’s just, yeah, I respect that so much…’
Activist Grace Tame and her fiance Max Heerey burst into tears when Labor leader Anthony Albanese relived his childhood as she quizzed him for a women’s magazine
Grace Tame told Anthony Albanese he has a future career in modeling after his photoshoot to go with the InStyle feature article
She then looked off camera and revealed her fiancé was also sobbing over Mr Albanese’s story.
‘Max is crying! Oh, I want to give you a hug,’ she said through her tears.
The Labor leader had been speaking about how his mother had been abandoned by her lover who she became pregnant with, then married another girl from his hometown in Italy.
But his mother insisted on keeping her son, taking her lover’s surname and then pretending he had died in a car crash as she brought Mr Albanese up alone.
Ms Albanese scraped a meagre living as a cleaner to keep them both and put her son through university before later being crippled by arthritis and dying at the age of just 65 in 2002.
Ms Tame made headlines earlier this year when she grimaced and side-eyed Prime Minister Scott Morrison at an Australian of the Year function in January – a very different reaction to what she gives the Labor leader
The InStyle interview was conducted by video link as part of International Women’s Day, with Ms Tame in Adelaide and Mr Albanese in Sydney
Anthony Albanese was recounting how his single mother, Maryanne, (pictured) struggled to bring him up in her Camperdown council house in Sydney’s Inner West in the 1960s
‘It’s one of the things that has focused me and a part of who I am,’ Mr Albanese told Ms Tame.
‘She always respected everyone and I grew up with the confidence of having a mum who lived a lot of her aspirations through me.
‘And so she’s the most important role model in my life and she’s very much still part of who I am today.’
The final comment proved too much for Ms Tame who broke down in tears.
She later added: ‘Oh, I’m still just, I’m still just processing your story. I’ll probably go and cry about it later and I’m not ashamed of that!’
Mr Albanese said he had ‘done okay’ and she replied: ‘No, you’ve done better than okay. A lot of respect for you, Anthony.’
He added: ‘Where I grew up there was a much better chance of going to jail than going to Parliament.’
Anthony Albanese was styled like a 1950s spy for the magazine feature, wearing a retro-styled pea coat for the photoshoot
Grace Tame was in tears at Mr Albanese’s story then looked off camera and revealed partner Max Heerey (pictured) was also sobbing over his childhood story
Ms Tame said she could relate it to her own mother who grew up in Tasmania as the youngest of five girls.
‘My nan raised them all by herself for the most part, on a secretary’s wage,’ Ms Tame told Mr Albanese.
‘And they had to do everything themselves.’
Ms Tame made headlines earlier this year when she grimaced and side-eyed Prime Minister Scott Morrison at an Australian of the Year function in January.
And she took the chance to have another crack at the PM in the chummy chat with Mr Albanese.
‘I’ve tried to go through this whole interview being very conscious of the fact that I’m talking to you and to avoid criticizing old mate Scott,’ she said.
‘But if I was to make one observation… You’ve touched on the lack of authenticity, that’s one of them. But another is that he just seems to be completely averse to owning any mistakes, and that’s a weakness.’
Mr Albanese replied: ‘It’s always someone else.’
The initial interview – conducted as part of International Women’s Day, with Ms Tame in Adelaide and Mr Albanese in Sydney – begins with Ms Tame admitting: ‘This would be the first time that I’ve asked anyone the questions…’
The chat covered women’s role in society and gender diversity before moving on to First Nations representation and the pandemic.
The Labor chief said he had deliberately taken a back seat during the Covid crisis to ‘put the national interest first’ and be constructive.
‘But it meant that it wasn’t politics as usual.’ he admitted.
He agreed as Ms Tame added: ‘I guarantee you, if you had tried to occupy too much space and hold the microphone, you would have just been completely shredded.’
In the latter half of the interview, Ms Tame almost speaks more than Mr Albanese, as she addresses some of the issues which she’s faced in the past year since her high profile role as Australian of the Year.
Mr Albanese told her that she’s made a huge difference, but she replied that she ‘stands on the shoulders of giants.’
She added: ‘You get sucked into being sort of painted in a very one-dimensional way.
‘To be a leader, it’s not about standing above people and having power over them. It’s about empowering – that’s quite a difference.’
She also referred to the controversial picture of her with a bong which Daily Mail Australia revealed she had suddenly deleted earlier this year.
Grace Tame also referred to the controversial picture of her with a bong which Daily Mail Australia revealed was on her Instagram account before suddenly being deleted
‘I’ve come sort of blustering into this space with no sort of real expertise and that’s true,’ she admitted.
‘You know, Anthony, I didn’t go to university – while a lot of people were in university, I was battling through trauma.
‘We all saw the bong photo, that’s what I was doing, I was in another country, I was escaping, I was doing things that I probably shouldn’t have been doing.
‘I was in a destabilizing domestic violence relationship, it was a bad time for me – but I do have lived experience.’
The interview ran out of time and Mr Albanese thanked her for the birthday messages she sent the week before as she laughed about her ‘bad sense of humour’.
He added: ‘That’s a good thing. You’ve got to laugh in this life because it can be difficult and it throws stuff at you.
‘That’s actually a big part of why you’ve been so effective; you bring out that warmth.
‘For people who’ve experienced trauma like you have, it would be reasonable for you to just be introverted and a different person, but you’re incredibly warm and out there and making a difference.’
It ended with Ms Tame telling Mr Albanese he has a future career in modeling after his photoshoot to go with the InStyle feature article.
He replied: ‘Yeah, I don’t know about that, but it was a bit of fun.’