In another change, the Labor leader opened his first press conference as PM only after having staff replace two of the three Australian flags behind the podium in the Blue Room of Parliament House with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander emblems.
Mr Albanese is also taking Foreign Minister Penny Wong with him to meet the international leaders at the Quad Summit in Japan, against the normal convention of such meeting in which the Prime Minister would go solo.
The three changes mark a significant departure from the way Mr Morrison did things – and came as a surprise to many Australians despite Mr Albanese saying he wants to change ‘how politics is done’ in Australia.
Anthony Albanese (left) opted for a civil affirmation when he was sworn in as Australia’s 31st Prime Minister
The first clear difference between Mr Albanese and Mr Morrison was evident when Mr Albanese was sworn in as PM.
‘I, Anthony Norman Albanese do solemnly and sincerely affirm and declare that I will well and truly serve the Commonwealth of Australia, her land and her people in the office of Prime Minister,’ the new leader said.
Mr Albanese took a civil affirmation, rather than a religious pledge, and chose not to utter the traditional ‘so help me God’, which is sometimes a feature of these events.
The difference couldn’t be more stark to what former prime minister Scott Morrison said almost five years ago.
Mr Morrison pledged: ‘I, Scott John Morrison do swear that I will well and truly serve the people of Australia in the office of Prime Minister and that I’ll be faithful and be true allegiance to her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, so help me God.’
Mr Morrison is a devout Christian – while Mr Albanese dwelled little on his religious views during the election campaign.
He has described himself as a ‘non-practising Catholic’ – having been educated at Camperdown’s St Joseph’s Primary School and St Mary’s Cathedral College. He has previously said faith is a personal matter for him.
It did not go unnoticed by the media when Mr Albanese made another change on his first day. Prior to his first address as the sworn-in leader, staff replaced two of the three Australian flags behind the podium at Parliament House to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags.
Staff replace two Australian flags in Parliament House’s Blue Room with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander insignias on Monday
The monumental change comes after Labor announced it had taken a step forward to ‘fulfilling the promise of the Uluru Statement from the Heart’ – which would see an Indigenous ‘Voice to Parliament’ introduced.
‘I look forward to leading a government that makes Australians proud,’ Mr Albanese told reporters on Monday
‘A government that doesn’t seek to divide, that doesn’t seek to have wedges but seeks to bring people together for our common interest and our common purpose.’
Shortly afterwards, Mr Albanese and Foreign Minister Penny Wong boarded a plane to travel to Japan, where they will meet international leaders at the Quad Summit.
The pair will meet with US President Joe, Biden, host leader Fumio Kishida and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi.
Mr Albanese came under fire last week over plans to swear himself and Ms Wong in immediately after the election result so the pair could attend the Quad Summit, which begins tomorrow.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags will now stand behind new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured with his frontbench) during press conferences at Parliament House
He argued would be no time for the Labor caucus to meet in Canberra to elect ministers, as is required under party rules
It is also unusual for a Prime Minister to be sworn in – and then leave the country immediately.
Mr Albanese told The Australian last week: ‘We are not pre-empting the outcome (of the election) but, clearly, we have been asked by Australian officials what our intention would be and we have indicated that if we are successful, the intention would be to go.’
‘If we are successful on Saturday, it is my intention to go to the Quad leaders meeting to represent Australia (as prime minister),’ Mr Albanese said. ‘If it is unclear, we would seek advice.’
Mr Albanese’s pre-emptive comments were slammed by senior Liberals, including Peter Dutton, who could become the new Coalition leader within days. Mr Dutton said it was unusual for Mr Albanese to take his Foreign Minister along on a leader’s trip.
He accused Mr Albanese of making a similar costly error to the one made by former Opposition Leader Bill Shorten who had the removalists booked to move into The Lodge days out from the 2019 election.
‘It sounds a lot to me like he’s taking people’s support for granted,’ Mr Dutton told 2GB last Wednesday.
‘Already packing the bags and getting the passport ready to head off overseas before the final votes are counted reminds me a lot of what Bill Shorten did.’
‘Taking for granted that you’ve already become prime minister, or are on the cusp of it, I think is hubris writ large.’
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and newly appointed Foreign Minister Penny Wong have headed to Japan for the Quad Summit
Anthony Albanese (pictured with Governor-General David Hurley) chose not to utter the traditional ‘so help me God’ at the end of his oath