Anthony Albanese tells Labor colleagues not to waste a day as he urges ‘more inclusive’ parliament | Anthony Albanese

An emotional Anthony Albanese has urged his Labor colleagues not to waste a day in government while confirming he will go to Indonesia for his second overseas visit this weekend and convene the 47th parliament at the end of July.

The prime minister used his first post-election address to caucus on Tuesday, ahead of the appointment of his first cabinet and ministry, to outline his initial program and his expectations for the coming term of government.

Albanese looked overcome as he thanked Australian voters and his colleagues for the “incredible honor” of becoming prime minister.

Labor has secured a working majority of 76 seats as the election count continues, and the prime minister hugged Fiona Phillips, the Gilmore MP still waiting for the final results from her knife-edge seat, quipping she would be known in the future as “77” if she managed to hold out Liberal Andrew Constance.

The prime minister told the caucus that a combination of internal discipline and the correct strategic calls had secured the election victory on 21 May, including the decision to launch the campaign in Western Australia. In this state, Labor gained four lower house seats from the Liberals.

Albanese said Labor had been clear about its policy agenda and would now seek to implement it. But he said the new parliament, with a large crossbench and a new opposition leadership, furnished an opportunity to do things differently.

“We need to change how politics operates in this country,” Albanese said. “We need to be more inclusive. We need to be prepared to reach out … [and] we can do that in this parliament”.

Prime minister Anthony Albanese acknowledges colleagues during his first post-election address to caucus on Tuesday in Parliament House in Canberra. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Albanese – a veteran of the Rudd-Gillard civil war – said Labor had won the 2022 election by looking outwards for three years, not inwards. He said in the past, Labor had looked “at ourselves rather than outward,” and that tendency was not a winning formula.

Anthony Albanese

“I want to remind you that you shouldn’t waste a day in government,” the prime minister told his caucus colleagues. He said he had no intention of returning to the opposition, and his objective was to expand the number of Labor MPs in the parliament.

Albanese said he wanted three qualities to define the Labor caucus and the 47th parliament – planning, faith, and solidarity. The prime minister thanked his caucus colleagues for backing him as a leader during the opposition and “backing in those big calls” he made as party leader after the election defeat in 2019.

Albanese also referenced the combative media coverage during the campaign during his opening address, noting the “umpires” had not gone “with us all the time”.

The prime minister said Labor had maintained discipline through the pressure of the hustings, refusing to “go off track” or “get distracted”. He noted the campaign had demonstrated that the media “don’t have as much influence as they think”.

Albanese’s first international visit as prime minister was to the long-scheduled meeting of the Quad in Tokyo, where he met with the leaders of the US, India, and Japan. Still, he has long indicated that Indonesia would be one of his first overseas destinations.

During the election campaign, Labor promised to “revitalize” Australia’s trade relationship with Indonesia as part of a diversification plan. It accused the Coalition of an “unforgivable” lack of attention to the relationship with the growing near-neighbor.

Anthony Albanese chats with colleagues. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Labor hopes to establish an annual 2+2 ministerial economic dialogue with Indonesia, which is set to host this year’s G20 summit and has suggested Australia could lend expertise to relocating the Indonesian capital to Nusantara.

Labor also sees scope for Australia to offer expertise in digital health services across rural and remote areas, given that Indonesia also faces challenges providing health services across geographical challenges.

The new Labor government is also expected to support Indonesia to join the big regional trade deal known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Labor promised a $470m increase in foreign aid to south-east Asia over four years, a new regional envoy, and a $200m climate and infrastructure partnership with Indonesia.

During the forthcoming trip, Albanese may also have to reassure Indonesia about Australia’s strategic intentions, given that Jakarta previously expressed concerns about the Aukus plan.

After the Morrison government announced last September that Australia would acquire at least eight nuclear-propelled submarines, Indonesia and Malaysia both raised fears the Aukus deal could add to a regional arms race and pose nuclear nonproliferation issues.

The former foreign affairs minister Marise Payne traveled to Indonesia and Malaysia in November to assure them that the plan would “make us a more capable partner” and was not intended to stir up conflict.

Aukus has bipartisan support, but the new foreign affairs minister, Penny Wong, has previously said it is important for Australia to be “attending to relationships such as those with Indonesia and Malaysia, whose reaction does matter and who we do need, and do want to keep working with, given that we do share an interest in the sort of region we want”.

Bella E. McMahon
I am a freelance writer who started blogging in college. I am fascinated by human nature, politics, culture, technology, and pop culture. In addition to my writing, I enjoy exploring new places, trying out new things, and engaging in conversations with new people. Some of my favorite hobbies are reading, playing music, making crafts, writing, traveling, and spending time with my family.