Wednesday (June 8th): Albanese’s Australia goes abroad!

Anthony Albanese
Anthony Albanese

Name? Anthony Albanese

Westphalian identity? Australian

Age? 59

Why is he in the news? Since Albanese became Australian Prime Minister two weeks ago, the Labour party leader has been travelling nonstop. From flying to Japan on his second day for a QUAD leaders meeting, to spending the past few days in Indonesia strengthening economic ties, it’s safe to say that PM Albanese is reviving Australia’s diplomatic stance in Asia Pacific. 

Why do we care? It seems as though a different style of eyeglasses is not the only difference between Albanese and his predecessor Scott Morrison… After meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Albanese committed to attending the G20 Summit, changing Australia’s stance and effectively going back on Morrison’s unwillingness to sit around the table with Putin.

Why should you care? With new presidents in South Korea and the Philippines, the election of Albanese adds another fresh face to a vital yet volatile region. You should care 5/10 about as fresh faces can mean breaking up old patterns or inexperience leading to vacuums.

Who else cares? Vacuums China’s President Xi Jinping would love to fill. China’s growing military presence resulted in a “dangerous manoeuvre” between a Chinese fighter jet and an Australian surveillance plane. With Albanese emphasising that the incident occurred in international airspace and Xi’s government warning of unspecified “consequences” if the behaviour continues, it’s unlikely that Australian-Chinese relations will warm up anytime soon. Ironically, this freezing of relations will provide the perfect icebreaker for Albanese when he (eventually) meets Canadian PM Trudeau as the Canadians have had similar run-ins with the Chinese lately.

Any further comments? After his many trips abroad, PM Albanese is set to host New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern this week to discuss various social, economic, and environmental issues. However, considering Australia’s military interception with China, the latest QUAD leaders meeting, and PM Ardern’s recent trip to the White House, it’s probable that the meeting will quickly venture into security subjects.