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Anthony Albanese defends post-election international travel, saying Australia cannot retreat from the world stage

ABC NEWS logo ABC NEWS 5/07/2022 By political reporter Elias Clure
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called on those criticising him to identify which of his international appearances he should have skipped. (ABC News: Ian Cutmore) © Provided by ABC NEWS Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called on those criticising him to identify which of his international appearances he should have skipped. (ABC News: Ian Cutmore)

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has rejected criticism that he's spending too much of his time abroad, proclaiming he "hasn't had a day off in a very long period of time".

Since his election triumph on May 21, Mr Albanese has made three foreign trips.

His first, to Tokyo for the Quad Security Meeting, was just hours after his swearing in.

Shortly afterwards he made his first official state visit to Indonesia and last week he jetted off for a whirlwind European tour, which included the NATO summit, a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris and a stop in Kyiv to see Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Several opposition MPs have questioned the Prime Minister's travel schedule, with Shadow Immigration Minister Dan Tehan describing the trips as "concerning".

"What we're seeing from Mr Albanese is very much a focus on everything international and we're starting to see serious drift when it comes to incredibly important domestic issues, like energy, like skills shortages, like these floods we're now confronting on the eastern seaboard," Mr Tehan said on Monday.

However, during an impromptu press conference on his way back from Europe, the Prime Minister hit back at the claims.

"I have attended the Quad leaders meeting the day after [being sworn in after the election]. That wasn't a decision of mine. That was a decision of the former prime minister to hold the election on May 21," Mr Albanese said.

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

"We can't separate international events from the impact on Australia and Australians, and those people might like to say which of the events I've attended on behalf of Australia that I shouldn't have attended."

Mr Albanese dismissed claims Labor had been too harsh on Scott Morrison for being slow to arrive at flood-affected areas.

"I have not had a day off in a very long period of time," he said.

"If people want to argue that I'm not working hard then they can argue that case."

Mr Albanese is due to visit flood-affected areas of NSW on Wednesday.

New South Wales Liberal Premier Dominic Perrottet has also defended the Prime Minister.

He told reporters on Tuesday that Mr Albanese had contacted him from Europe.

"I won't go into where he was, from an operational perspective, but he called me yesterday as soon as he could," Mr Perrottet said.

"He's overseas on work that's important for Australia."


Video: Albanese hits back at criticisms over international travel (Sky News Australia)

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