Before entering political life, Palladini was the owner of a large automobile dealership in Woodbridge, Ontario (becoming locally famous for the slogan, "Any Palladini is a pal of mine" and a series of ads created by a young Rick Moranis). He was named Canadian World Auto Marketer of the Year in 1994, and was the Vaughan Outstanding Business Achievement Award the same year. Palladini also served as Chair of the York-Finch General Hospital Foundation, and was a Director of the York University Scholarship Alliance Board.
He was elected for the riding of York Centre in the provincial election of 1995, defeating Liberal Mario Ferri by more than 8,000 votes (the riding had previously been held by high-profile Liberal Greg Sorbara). On June 26, 1995, he was named Minister of Transportation. Following a cabinet shuffle on October 10, 1997, he was named Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism.
Palladini was re-elected in the provincial election of 1999, defeating Liberal Tony Genco by about 7,500 votes in the redistributed riding of Vaughan—King—Aurora. After the election, his portfolio was restricted as "Economic Development and Trade".
Palladini resigned from cabinet on February 7, 2001, citing personal difficulties (he was going through extremely stressful divorce proceedings at the time). One month later, he unexpectedly died of a heart attack on a golf course.
In office, Palladini presented himself as a populist while presenting legislation which reduced government services. He was often accused of anti-intellectualism. When he cut back on snowplowing budgets for provincial highways, he suggested that stranded drivers could simply use their cell phones to call for help.
His family continues to operate his car dealership. There is also an Al Palladini Community Centre in Vaughan, named in his honour.