'It's a matter for him': Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's brief response as Scott Morrison skips parliament for Tokyo

‘It’s a matter for him’: Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s brief response as Scott Morrison skips parliament for Tokyo

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has been forced to address the absence of his predecessor Scott Morrison as Australia’s 47th parliament agrees for the first time since the Coalition’s election loss two months ago.

Mr Albanese spoke briefly to the media on Tuesday morning, where he was asked by a journalist whether it was “disrespectful” Mr Morrison was “ditching parliament for a speaking tour”.

The Labor leader issued a short response – an indication he would not allow the question or the former PM to overshadow a significant day for his government.

“It’s a matter for him,” Mr Albanese said.

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Mr Morrison was this week anticipated to return to the backbench for the first time in almost a decade.

But the member for Cook on Monday announced he would not be there to mark the occasion, instead opting to head overseas and address an international event in Tokyo for former prime ministers from Canada, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

He explained in a statement that he was honoring a commitment made before the schedule for the first week of parliament had been released.

“Prior to the new Government advising the sitting schedule for the remainder of 2022, I had already accepted an invitation to join other former Prime Ministers from Canada, the UK and New Zealand to address an international event to be held in Tokyo this week,” he said.

“As a consequence I will be unable to attend the first three sitting days of the new Parliament this week.”

Mr Morrison said both Mr Albanese and Opposition Leader Peter Dutton were advised of his travel plans and absence from parliament.

Following the question about Mr Morrison’s absence, Mr Albanese shifted the focus of his brief press conference to the “emotional” moments leading up to his first week in parliament as Prime Minister.

As is customary, the Prime Minister visited the Australian War Memorial on the eve of parliament and used the solemn time to think of his late mother.

“I was thinking about my mom. It would’ve been a big day for her,” he said.

Mr Albanese, who has been forthcoming with the struggles of growing up with a single mum in government housing, went on to describe another “emotional moment.”

He explained he received a text message from a “very dear friend of mine” with photos from the event at the War Memorial.

“Eight of my friends who I grew up with, in council housing, in Camperdown, have made their way here from Melbourne, from Perth, from all over the country, without telling me, they have organized it,” he said.

“And that was a really emotional moment for me last night. It’s a big deal for them.

“I said on election night that I hoped there were people watching in public housing who aspired.

“It confirms that in this great country of ours you can aspire to a better life and to fulfill the opportunities that this country creates.”

The Labor government has set out an ambitious agenda for parliament, with plans to introduce 18 pieces of legislation tackling some of the country’s biggest issues.

Mr Albanese has his sights set on addressing climate change, cost of living pressures and aged care as well as providing an update on the budget.


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