Why Albanese Has Been Jetsetting Around the World (Without a Hawaiian Shirt)

albanese holiday ukraine trip

The Prime Minister has once again absconded during a national emergency. If you’re having flashbacks, don’t worry, you haven’t just woken up in 2020.

Anthony Albanese has been forced to reveal his whereabouts as Australia deals with its third major flooding event in six months. Turns out, he’s been shaking hands and fulfilling our international obligations with NATO meetings, G7 gatherings, and a quick stint to affirm our commitments to Ukraine’s embattled President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. There wasn’t a ukulele or a Hawaiian shirt in sight.

Not that that matters, given some in the now-opposition Coalition party want to try and equate Albanese’s full-on 40-day international schedule fixing up international relations with that time their former leader vanished while half the country was on fire. Then lied about being on holiday. Then admitted he was on holiday. Then refused to cut the holiday short. Then came back and told us it wouldn’t have mattered anyway since he doesn’t know how to operate firefighting equipment.

Albanese has said that all available funds are being deployed to those who have been hit by flooding and that members of his team are on the ground ensuring support is being delivered.

Related: Disaster Funding’s Here For NSW Flood Victims: This Is How You Access It

“For those people who might like to say of the events I have attended on behalf of Australia, that I should not have attended, I have not had a day off (for) a very long period of time,” Albanese said.

“I have attended the Quad Leaders’ meeting the day after the election — that wasn’t a decision of mine to hold the election on May 21, that was a decision of the former Prime Minister.

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

“If people want to argue that I’m not working hard, they can argue their case.”

As to what he’s been up to, well Albanese was basically forced to visit the French given we’ve been out of lé loop since someone forgot to tell them we weren’t buying their submarines.

He agreed to a “fair an equitable settlement” of $839 million to close the $50 million contract we signed with France in 2016 and “reset” relations with our former war-time allies who were genuinely raging about the actions of our former PM.

After France, and the NATO and G7 meetings, Albanese made a high-security visit to an actual war zone, becoming the first Australian PM to visit Ukraine since the country achieved independence.

Australia is the biggest non-NATO supplier of aid and support to Ukraine, and Zelenskyy welcomed his visit, saying the weapons and support we are supplying are essential. Albanese toured areas of the country destroyed by Russian attacks and promised an additional $100 million in aid to Ukraine. This brings our total military assistance to $388 million.

“My visit to Kyiv and recent visits by other world leaders sends a clear message that democratic nations like Australia will stand side-by-side with the Ukrainian people in their time of need,” Albanese said.

“Russia’s brutal invasion is a gross violation of international law. I saw first-hand the devastation and trauma it has inflicted on the people of Ukraine.”

Dominic Perrotett, you know, the guy in charge of the state where the flooding has been particularly bad, actually defended the PM, saying that he was doing important work for the country.

“I don’t think so at all,” Perrottet told reporters when asked if Albanese should have been in NSW.

“He was in Ukraine, he called me yesterday. I won’t go into where he was, from an operational perspective, but he called me yesterday and as soon as he could.”

Treasurer Jim Chalmers argued that the PM was basically having to mop up the mess of the previous government.

“We would prefer that if we inherited relationships which were in perfect nick in our region, in the Pacific, with the French and around the world. But unfortunately, that’s not what we inherited,” he said.

The PM has confirmed that he will still attend the Pacific Islands Forum in Fiji next week.

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