Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison declined to say on Wednesday who could represent the nation at a summit with US, Indian and Japanese leaders in Tokyo, just three days after Saturday’s Australian elections.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there were “conventions” to handle the election, but did not elaborate on how those conventions would work once the result was close.
“I am sure that depending on the outcome of Saturday’s election, they will be placed,” Morrison said.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has said he would be sworn in as prime minister Sunday or Monday to attend the summit of the Indo-Pacific strategic alliance known as the Quad on Tuesday.
“I will visit the Quad and renew my acquaintance with President (Joe) Biden, but also, very importantly, meet with (Japanese) Prime Minister (Fumio) Kishida and (Indian Prime Minister) Narendra Modi, who are important friends of Australia,” said Albanian. told the Australian newspaper.
Anne Twomey, a constitutional law expert at the University of Sydney, said Morrison would have to resign as prime minister before Governor-General David Hurley could swear in Albanian.
Concierge competitors have been limiting what the government can do since April 10, when Morrison called for the election. But agreements are not binding.
“If the result is unclear, then the prime minister is still the prime minister. He will remain prime minister and will have all the powers of prime minister until he resigns,” Twomey said.
“The concierge conventions in those circumstances would normally dictate that you can’t go around doing important things, making policy announcements and things like that,” she added.
Morrison and Albanian could go to Tokyo together if the election results look uncertain, she said.
The published conventions offer a range of options for an interim prime minister visiting abroad or conducting international negotiations.
The prime minister could take observer status at the Tokyo summit or seek opposition support for negotiating positions.
Australian opposition Senator Penny Wong said she would accompany Albanian to Tokyo as foreign minister if their centre-left Labor party wins.
“The first visit will be to Japan for the Quad leaders’ meeting, which will also be attended by a number of foreign ministers,” Wong told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
“My hope would have been, and Anthony has said that if we were elected, it would be his first visit and certainly my first visit to Indonesia. But the first visit for him abroad would of course be the Quad leaders meeting in Japan. be,” Wong said.
Indonesia is traditionally the first overseas destination of a new Australian Prime Minister, underscoring the importance of that bilateral relationship.
On the night of Australian elections, it is usually clear which party will win the majority of seats in the House of Representatives and form the government.
But opinion polls suggest the weekend elections will be close and could result in a pending parliament in which neither the Conservative coalition nor the Labor party has a majority.
There has also been an increase in the number of postal votes in these elections as voters avoid the pandemic risk at polling booths. Postal votes take longer to count.
It took Labor 17 days after the 2010 election to gain the support of enough independent lawmakers to form a minority government.