Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has hit back at ‘cheap jabs’ during his recent spate of overseas visits – as an embarrassing detail has emerged about the Opposition Leader’s own travels.
Albanese confirmed he would attend the Pacific Islands Forum, to be held in Fiji from Monday, as well as the G20 meeting in Bali later this year, further adding to his schedule of visits abroad since taking office.
It follows criticism from some opposition figures, including leader Peter Dutton and shadow treasurer Angus Taylor, that he is not focusing more on national issues. Some critics have also dubbed it ‘Airbus Albo’ – but on Friday the prime minister hit back.
Mr Dutton is expected to describe ‘what events I shouldn’t have attended’, Mr Albanese told the Nine Network.
“I did not decide that the election would be held on May 21, just days before the Quad leadership meeting,” he said. Today.
“Shouldn’t I have met President Biden, the Prime Minister of Japan and the Prime Minister of Japan and the Prime Minister of India?
“Shouldn’t I have gone to the NATO summit in Madrid? Shouldn’t I have repaired the relationship with France and pushed forward a trade deal between Australia and Europe that will create jobs and economic growth here in Australia? »
“Should I have said to Ukraine, ‘no, you are alone, we do not want to express our solidarity with President Zelensky’, when the Ukrainian people are showing such courage and resilience in the face of to the brutal invasion of Russia?
“It’s a cheap shot, frankly, and the opposition needs to be more mature.”
It has emerged that Mr Dutton, who is on furlough until July 19, has also traveled overseas. He confirmed to News Corp on Friday that he is in the United States with his wife, Kirilly.
“While I’m here, I’m going to meet a few people in Washington and participate in the dialogue about American leadership,” he said.
Mr Albanese will be at the Pacific Islands Forum next week, where Australia and New Zealand will ask Pacific countries to be part of a joint bid to host a future UN climate summit. He and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern discussed the proposal during a meeting in Sydney on Friday.
It follows a group of esteemed Pacific leaders urging Australia to show support for the region by scrapping next generation fossil fuel projects.
Serving Pacific leaders have made clear their disappointment with Australia’s efforts to tackle climate change.
In December last year, Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said Australia had a ‘dangerous addiction to coal’ before hailing Mr Albanese’s election, hoping he would ‘put climate first’ .
Former leaders are also adding their shoulder to the regional effort.
Former leaders from Tuvalu, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands and Palau have co-signed a statement calling on countries to improve their emissions reduction efforts.
“The latest assessments are clear: global emissions must be halved in this decade. There is no room for new coal and gas,” the statement said.
Mr. Albanese said co-hosting the UN Conference of the Parties was an important step in climate engagement in the Pacific.
He told Sydney that Australia’s new emissions reduction target of 43% of 2005 levels by 2030 was a “floor”.
“Australia is now part of the constructive action that is needed globally to meet the challenge of climate change,” he said.
He mentioned Australia’s $200 million climate change infrastructure investment fund, in addition to $525 million in development assistance in the Pacific.
“I think our change of position (on emissions) will be very well received in the Pacific.”
Albanese said he also wanted to discuss security arrangements in the region, as China seeks bilateral agreements with Pacific countries.
“We know that we live in an era of strategic competition in the region.
“Australia’s friendship and relationship with the sovereign nations of the Pacific is that of a friend… [and] a security partner of choice.