Awkward detail in election timing
Australia could miss out on a major leaders’ meeting in Tokyo on May 24 if the election result hangs in the balance.
A meeting of Quad leaders could have an empty seat at the table if Australia’s election result is not finalised before a planned summit in Tokyo.
The Quad – a partnership between Australia, the US, Japan and India – is set to meet in Japan on May 24, just three days after the federal election.
The awkward timing means Australian officials could be put in the tricky position of trying to figure out who to send in the event of a hung parliament.
United States President Joe Biden is set to visit Korea and Japan between May 20 and 24 to reaffirm its “rock-solid commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific”.
“The leaders will discuss opportunities to deepen our vital security relationships, enhance economic ties, and expand our close co-operation to deliver practical results,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
Mr Biden is set to meet counterparts Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio.
But details on the scheduled Quad meeting in Tokyo are scant, with Ms Psaki saying she hoped to share further details about the trip “soon”.
The planned summit will be just the second leader-level meeting of the Quad.
The Quad is formally billed as security dialogue but unofficially its purpose is to push back against China’s presence in the Indo-Pacific.
Leaders met for the first time since the grouping was formed in Washington last year.
In the September meeting, leaders deliberately avoided mentioning China by name but made it clear its mission was to counter the growing influence of the superpower.