source : www.dailymail.co.uk
By Brittany Chain, Political Correspondent for Daily Mail Australia
11:17 November 7, 2023, updated 11:18 November 7, 2023
Anthony Albanese tried to avoid accusations that he spends more time traveling than governing by trying to time his recent US state dinner to coincide with another US visit.
The prime minister’s critics will crowd around the nickname “Airbus Albo” when he flies to an Asia-Pacific leaders forum next week, less than a month after returning from an earlier visit to the US.
When President Joe Biden invited Mr Albanese on an official state visit to make up for the last-minute cancellation of his trip to Sydney, the Australian Prime Minister wanted this arranged so he could visit Washington and promote the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in San Francisco. and go to China to meet President Xi Jinping in one fell swoop.
The proposed dates did not align with Mr. Biden’s schedule. So Mr Albanese – who has made 19 trips in 19 months – will make four foreign trips in a month.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said Australians are feeling “great frustration” as the Prime Minister has been “hanging out on the red carpet and traveling the world” amid the cost of living and rising interest rates at home.
Opposition affairs manager Paul Fletcher repeatedly criticized him for preferring ‘to fly to the US rather than go to Question Time’.
And Deputy Opposition Leader Sussan Ley recently said: ‘We wish him well on another visit abroad, but my goodness, there are problems here at home and I’m not sure he or his treasurer have any idea what to do about it.’
Albanese traveled to Washington for the first time in October, where he was treated to a state dinner with the Bidens and a slew of celebrities and businesspeople.
In the 19 months since his election, Mr Albanese has had a close relationship with the US president, with five bilateral meetings and nine catch-up calls in that time.
After the trip, he spent just a few days at home before leaving again for a historic meeting with President Xi Jinping in China – the first prime minister to do so since 2016.
He will fly directly from China to the Cook Islands for the Pacific Islands Forum and return to the United States next week for APEC.
The trip to San Francisco will be Mr. Albanese’s 20th international visit in 19 months.
While Mr Albanese’s extensive itinerary has received the most attention since Kevin Rudd was nicknamed ‘Kevin 747’, evidence shows he is actually no more jet-setting than his predecessors.
Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison made a relatively modest 23 trips between 2018 and 2022, but that number would have been much higher if Covid lockdowns had not restricted international travel.
Before Covid kicked off in 2020, Mr Morrison had visited 17 countries, including the infamous visit to Hawaii, as bushfires devastated the country.
In his first 12 months as prime minister, Albanese made no more trips than former prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott. He visited sixteen countries in eleven separate trips.
This list includes a trip to Ukraine to support the war effort, and two trips to London – the memorial for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and King Charles III.
Mr Rudd in particular was criticized by Mr Abbott, who later discovered that the same amount of international travel was required of him in his top job.
One notable difference is the state of affairs in Australia that the Prime Minister has left behind during these crucial relationship-building exercises.
On Tuesday, Australian borrowers were hit with another rate hike – the 13th in 18 months.
It’s a crushing blow to many households already struggling with sharp increases in the cost of utilities, groceries and gasoline.
In an ominous sign, the RBA now forecasts that inflation will remain above the target range of 2-3 percent until at least the end of 2025, after previously predicting that inflation would return within that range by June 2025.
The first rate hike since June will add $99 to an average $600,000 mortgage after persistently high inflation saw the Reserve Bank inflict more pain on Melbourne Cup Day.
Annual repayments on a typical Australian mortgage are now $18,744 higher than at the beginning of May 2022, when Reserve Bank interest rates were still at a record low 0.1 per cent and banks were offering mortgage interest rates starting with a ‘two’.
Mr Albanese began his premiership two days after winning the election with a trip to Tokyo.
READ MORE: Inside a chic welcome Bidens steps in as Prime Minister and Jodie Haydon
The following month he took a trip to Indonesia, followed by a whirlwind trip to Europe, where he visited Spain for the NATO leaders’ summit, followed by France to smooth relations after former Prime Minister Morrison relinquished a submarine contract and, finally, to Ukraine.
He stopped over on his way to Europe in the United Arab Emirates, where he visited Australian Defense Force troops at Camp Baird.
A month later, Mr Albanese attended the Pacific Islands Forum in Fiji for two days. Other than that short trip, he did not travel again in July and August, but made an unscheduled visit to Britain in September to commemorate the tragic death of Queen Elizabeth.
Later that month, he attended the state funeral of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
He rounded out the year with several stops in November, visiting Cambodia for the ASEAN Summit, Indonesia for the G20 and Thailand for APEC.
His 2023 schedule was equally exhausting: He started the year with a trip to Papua New Guinea, followed by India and then the United States to announce the AUKUS deal.
This was followed by a bilateral meeting in Fiji and then a return to London for the King’s coronation.
The G7 summit was held in Japan in May and the Prime Minister embarked on two-day trips to Singapore and Vietnam in June.
In July he spent three days in Germany and Lithuania, followed later that month by New Zealand.
In September, the Prime Minister visited Indonesia, the Philippines and India – again for just two days in each location.
International travel made by PMs
Anthony Albanese has been criticized for his foreign travels. Watch them stack up.
The record for most trips abroad by a prime minister in the first 12 months of office was set by Kevin Rudd in 2008, but was later equaled by Tony Abbott and surpassed by Scott Morrison.
Japan (May 23 – 25)
Indonesia (June 5 – 7)
United Arab Emirates (June 27)
Spain (June 27 – July 1)
France (1 – 2 July)
Ukraine (3 – 4 July)
Fiji (July 13 – 14)
United Kingdom (16 – 20 September)
Japan (26 – 28 September)
Cambodia (11 – 14 November)
Indonesia (14 – 17 November)
Thailand (17 – 19 November)
Papua New Guinea (12 – 13 January)
India (March 8 – 11)
United States (March 11 – 14)
Fiji (March 15)
United Kingdom (May 3 – 6)
Japan (May 19 – 21)
Singapore (June 1 – 2)
Vietnam (June 3 – 4)
Germany (July 10)
Lithuania (11 – 12 July)
New Zealand (26 – 27 July)
Indonesia (6 – 7 September)
Philippines (7 – 8 September)
India (9 – 10 September)
United States (October 23 – 26)
China (4 – 7 November)
Cook Islands (November)
United States (November)
Indonesia (August 31 – September 1)
Singapore (13 – 15 November)
Papua New Guinea (17 – 19 November)
Argentina (November 30 – December 2)
Iraq (December 20)
Vanuatu (15 – 16 January)
Fiji (17 – 18 January)
New Zealand (February 22)
New Zealand (March 29)
Solomon Islands (2 – 3 June)
United Kingdom (4 – 6 June)
Singapore (June 7)
Japan (June 27 – 29)
Tuvalu (14 – 16 August)
Vietnam (22 – 24 August)
France (24 – 26 August)
East Timor (30 – 31 August)
United States (September 19 – 27)
Fiji (11 – 12 October)
Indonesia (19 – 20 October)
Thailand (November 3 – 4)
United States (December 16 – 21)
Japan (November 17 – 18)
New Zealand (May 30 – 31)
Singapore (June 10)
United Kingdom (June 11 – 15)
France (June 15)
United States (September 21 – 27)
Italy (30 – 31 October)
United Kingdom (1 – 2 November)
source : www.dailymail.co.uk