December 3, 2023

Newly elected leftist Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has dismissed criticism that he is spending too much time abroad and ignoring the country he was chosen to lead, arguing on Tuesday that he “hasn’t had a day off in a very long period of time”.

He spoke at an impromptu press event after arriving at the NATO summit in Spain that came with additional side trips to France and Ukraine on the nine-day trip.

Albanese returned to Australia via a quick layover in Italy before heading to Fiji next week for the Pacific Islands Forum.

During his many absences abroad – which generally amounted to a third of his time in office – vast parts of the most populous state of New South Wales have been hit by floods, with a state of emergency declared in some parts as flood waters have driven people from their homes.

Officials closed flooded roads along the overflowing Hawkesbury River in the western Sydney suburb of Windsor on July 4, 2022. Rapidly rising rivers swept across swaths of rain-soaked Sydney on July 4, forcing thousands to flee “dangerous” flooding as the largest dam In the city torrents of water spilled. (Said Khan/AFP via Getty)

About 50,000 people were forced to do so He left And seek refuge by the flood.

Since his election victory on May 21, Albanese has made three foreign trips on the prime minister’s plane. This included flying more than 55,000 kilometers on flights to Japan, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, Spain, France, Poland and Ukraine.

It was his first visit, to Tokyo for a Quad Security meeting, just hours after taking office, as ABC News mentioned.

Then he made his first official state visit to Indonesia. Riding a bike is included with his in favor of travel modes.

Albanese’s next project started at the NATO summit, although Australia is not a member of the group, along with a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris and a stop in Kyiv to stand and photograph alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Several members of the conservative opposition have questioned Albanese’s hectic international schedule, and shadow immigration minister Dan Tehan has called the trips “disturbing”.

“What we’re seeing from Mr. Albanese is a huge focus on everything international and we’re starting to see a serious skew when it comes to incredibly important local issues, like energy, like skill shortages, like this flooding that we’re having right now on the East Coast,” Tehan said on Monday.

The Labor leader dismissed allegations of dereliction of duty at a hastily held media session on the tarmac of Perth International Airport.

French President Emmanuel Macron, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, girlfriend Jodi Haydon and French First Lady Brigitte Macron pose for a photo before their meeting at the Elysee Presidential Palace on July 1, 2022 in Paris, France. (Antoine Giuri/Corbis via Getty Images)

US President Joe Biden prepares to shake hands with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (L) before their meeting during the Quartet Leaders Summit in Kanti in Tokyo, May 24, 2022 (SAUL LOEB / AFP via Getty Images)

“I attended the Quartet leaders meeting the next day [being sworn in after the election]. This was not my decision. This was the decision of the former prime minister to hold elections on May 21, Albanese said.

I attended the NATO summit. It was important that Australia was represented there, it was important that we deal with the relationship with France and Europe, and I think my visit to Ukraine was important to show solidarity.

“We cannot separate international events from the impact on Australia and Australians, and these people may wish to specify which events I attended on behalf of Australia and which I should not have attended.”

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (R) arrives for the NATO Summit in Madrid, Spain, on June 29, 2022 (JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty)

Albanese resented accusations that he spent more time traveling abroad than on his domestic duties.

“I haven’t had a day off in a very long time,” he complained. “If people want to argue that I don’t work hard, they can discuss this issue.”

Albanese is scheduled to visit flood-affected areas of New South Wales on Wednesday.

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