CANBERRA, 08 JULY 2022 (DAILY MAIL)—Anthony Albanese insists he will travel overseas again next week for an important forum despite the trip handing his critics more opportunity to use the ‘Airbus Albo’ slur for spending much of his time as Prime Minister outside Australia.
The Prime Minister labelled the moniker a ‘cheap shot’ during a series of breakfast TV interviews on Friday, adding that the attacks won’t deter him from travelling to the Pacific Islands Forum in Fiji next week.
Albanese was slammed by critics, including Opposition MPs Dan Tehan and Angus Taylor, after spending one third of his time overseas since becoming prime minister on 21 May.
But in an awkward twist, it has been revealed that Liberal leader Peter Dutton is currently overseas himself, on annual leave in the United States with his wife Kirrily, having left their children at home.
Dutton told News Corp he was planning to ‘catch up’ with people in Washington and attend a leadership dialogue on the foreign trip.
On morning television,Albanese said he would not back down from his plan to meet Pacific leaders, given China’s apparent powergrab in the region, and concerns it intended to build a military base there.
“I’ve got a job to do, and my job is to represent Australia.”
The PM separately told the Channel Nine on Friday that Dutton should ‘say which events I shouldn’t have gone to’ overseas.
“I didn’t decide the election would be 21 May, just a couple of days before the Quad leaders’ meeting.
“Should I have not met President Biden, the Prime Minister of Japan and the Prime Minister of Japan and the Prime Minister of India?
“Should I have not gone to the NATO summit in Madrid? Should I have not repaired the relationship with France and advanced a trade deal between Australia and Europe that will create jobs and economic growth here in Australia?”
Albanese flew to Japan for the Quad summit meeting just days after winning the election, and then made a two-day trip to Indonesia to meet president Joko Widodo.
He then made a nine-day trip to Europe where he was invited to the NATO summit and held meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron in a bid to repair the two countries’ relations. He then took a train to war-torn Ukraine to meet President Volodymyr Zelensky and pledge to give the country another $100million (US$68 million) of taxpayer-funded military equipment.
Some critics called out Albanese for his overseas travel while NSW was being battered by its fourth major flood in months.
Comparisons were drawn between the overseas trip to Scott Morrison who took holidays in Hawaii at the height of the 2019 bushfire disaster.
“To compare a visit to a war zone like Ukraine with a holiday in Hawaii, I think your viewers can draw that distinction,” Albanese said.
Anthony Albanese has been dubbed ‘Airbus Albo’ after it was revealed the prime minister has spent a third of his time travelling overseas since he became prime minister on 21 May.
Shadow Treasurer Angus Taylor has been critical of Albanese travelling to war-torn Ukraine accusing the prime minister of abandoning NSW as it was battered by floods.
“It was flooding for 48 hours Luke and [the Prime Minister] has only just picked up the phone to Dominic Perrottet to ask if he needs a hand,” Taylor told 2GB.
“There’s 30,000 people who have been told to evacuate their homes but the PM is more concerned about his reputation on the global stage than… making sure people in NSW have a place to sleep.”
Shadow Immigration Minister Dan Tehan claimed the prime minister was too focused on international issues.
“Well, it is concerning because what he seems to be doing is focusing completely on the international front and good Prime Ministers can do both,” he told Sky News.
“They understand that ultimately the domestic front is the most important place and that is where you have to have the majority of your focus, and then you’ve got to be able to deal with international events.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has defended the prime minister saying the response between the state and federal government during the NSW floods was ‘pleasing’.
“From my perspective the Federal Government needs to balance international concerns and domestic concerns but as soon as he could, he picked up the phone to call me,” Perrottet said during a press conference on Wednesday. …PACNEWS