Diplomacy first immediate focus for Albanese

By Tom Ravlic

May 23, 2022

Penny Wong-Anthony Albanese
(AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Prime minister Anthony Albanese is getting straight to work, with a trip to Japan to meet with Quad leaders from Japan, India, and the US.

Albanese and foreign minister Penny Wong leave for Tokyo today, after having been sworn into their respective roles this morning.

They will return on Wednesday to continue work on bedding down the Albanese administration.

“This will be my first international trip as prime minister and I am honoured to represent Australia at this important forum,” Albanese said in a statement released on Sunday evening.

“The Quad Leaders’ Summit brings together four leaders of great liberal democracies — Australia, Japan, India, and the United States of America — in support of a free, open and resilient Indo-Pacific, with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations at its centre.”

Albanese said that Australia would work with the Quad nations to deliver “positive and practical initiatives in our region, including on health, security, and climate change”.

Bi-lateral meetings have been scheduled with the other three Quad leaders: Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida, US president Joe Biden and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi.

“This visit aligns with what the Albanese government sees as the three pillars of Australia’s foreign policy: our alliance with the United States, our engagement with the region, and our support for multilateral forums.”

The result on Saturday, however, saw two possible ministers in an Albanese government defeated in their electorates.

Former New South Wales premier and former senator Kristina Keneally lost her bid to enter the house of representatives when independent Dai Le defeated her in the seat of Fowler.

She was the opposition spokesperson for home affairs and government accountability.

“At the end of today, it seems that Labor will not claim victory in Fowler. I congratulate Dai Le and wish her well,” Keneally said on her Twitter feed. “Thank you to the people who voted Labor & the volunteers on our campaign. And congratulations to Albo & Labor – a better future for Australia lies ahead.”

Labor’s shadow minister for environment and water, Terri Butler, has also exited stage right with her loss in the seat of Griffith to Australian Greens’ candidate Max Chandler-Mather.


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