Anthony Albanese meets Joe Biden and Quad leaders on first full day as Prime Minister

Anthony Albanese is set to face his first major test as Australia’s new Prime Minister, spending his first full day in office on the world stage.

Mr Albanese flew to Japan yesterday shortly after being sworn in alongside four of his most senior colleagues.

During the flight, Mr Albanese had a telephone conversation with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson during which the two discussed the AUKUS agreement and the challenges of responding to climate change.

The new Prime Minister is in Tokyo with Foreign Minister Penny Wong to meet the leaders of Japan, India and the United States for a Quad meeting.

Mr Albanese was sworn in as Prime Minister earlier today, although votes are still being counted, to ensure he can attend the meeting in person.

The four countries are expected to unveil a new plan designed to monitor and prevent illegal fishing in the region, which environmentalists have widely blamed on huge Chinese shipping fleets.

Quad leaders will also discuss China’s growing military aggression, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, climate change and the Quad’s ambitious plan to distribute COVID-19 vaccines in the region.

Importantly, Mr. Albanese will also hold individual bilateral meetings with US President Joe Biden, Indian President Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

Last night Mr Albanese also had his first call with the British Prime Minister as he traveled to Tokyo, speaking to Boris Johnson for a full half hour on the new AUKUS security deal and climate change.

Anthony Albanese and David Hurley shake hands.
Governor General David Hurley has sworn in Anthony Albanese as Australia’s 31st Prime Minister.(PA: Lukas Coch)

The Governor General also swore in Richard Marles as Deputy Prime Minister, Jim Chalmers as Treasurer and Katy Gallagher as Minister of Finance.

They will share all ministries on an interim basis until the full first bench is finalized after a caucus meeting early next week.

At home, the vote count continues and Labor is approaching the 76 votes needed to govern by a majority.

Labor will not form a majority in the Senate and will need the support of the Greens and probably two other MPs to pass its legislation without the support of the Coalition.

Mr Albanese has pledged to swear in a full ministry next Wednesday. He needs to find at least two new Cabinet ministers after former MPs Kristina Keneally and Terri Butler were defeated at the weekend.

Labor will also have to choose a new deputy leader of the Senate to serve alongside Senator Wong.

Senator Keneally, a member of the right-wing faction, previously held the position, but left it to run for a seat in the Lower House.

There is pressure on the party to make sure it is a woman, as two men lead the party in the Lower House, but party sources admit there is no obvious woman of the right faction.

Left-wing faction frontbencher and new finance minister Katy Gallagher is an obvious candidate, but yesterday she did not comment on whether she would get the job – which would likely require a trade with the correct faction.

“These are matters, internally, for the Labor Party through our caucus process and I’m not going to stand here and preempt any of those discussions,” Senator Gallagher said.

Bridget Archer holds a closed hand to her throat as she speaks with Peter Dutton.
Bridget Archer says she plans to run for deputy leader, with Peter Dutton being the favorite to be leader.(ABC News: Matt Roberts)

The leaderships of the Liberal Party and the Nationals to be won

The Liberal Party is looking for its next leader to replace former Premier Scott Morrison. Former defense minister Peter Dutton appears to be the most likely replacement.

The race is also on for Liberal MP, with former Social Services Minister Anne Ruston, Senator, among the contenders.

Former Home Secretary Karen Andrews and fringe Tasmanian MP Bridget Archer have both said they are considering running for MP.

Some party members are pushing for a woman to be an MP as the party seeks to rebuild its relationship with women.

Independent women in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, often dubbed teal, have done some of the greatest damage to the Liberals, winning once-secure Heartland coalition seats.

Joyce stands directly behind Littleproud, who is blurred in the foreground.
David Littleproud could be a potential replacement for Barnaby Joyce.(ABC News: Matt Roberts)

The leadership of the Nationals is also at stake.

The party has a ballot for leader after each election, regardless of the outcome.

Incumbent and former Deputy Premier Barnaby Joyce is seeking to stay in office and points to the Nationals holding all of his seats as a reason he should continue.

But Nationals were already probing Mr Joyce’s future as leader even before the election result. His deputy, David Littleproud, appears to be the favourite, while former chief Michael McCormack has already signaled he would be eager to get back to work.

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Anthony Albanese on what he will do first as the new Prime Minister.

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