On Wednesday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison did not say who could represent the nation at a summit with US, Indian and Japanese leaders in Tokyo, just three days after Saturday’s Australian election.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there were “conventions in place” to deal with the election, but did not say how those conventions would work if the result was close.
“I’m sure depending on the election result on Saturday they will be put in place,” Morrison said.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese said he would be sworn in as prime minister on Sunday or Monday in order to attend the summit of the Indo-Pacific strategic alliance known as the Quad on Tuesday.
“I will visit the Quad and reconnect with President (Joe) Biden but also meet, very importantly, (Japanese) Prime Minister (Fumio) Kishida and (Indian Prime Minister) Narendra Modi who are important friends of Australia “, said Albanese. told the Australian newspaper.
Anne Twomey, a constitutional law expert from the University of Sydney, said Morrison would have to resign as prime minister before Governor-General David Hurley could swear in Albanian.
Interim conventions have limited what the government can do since April 10, when Morrison called the election. But the agreements are not binding.
“If the outcome is unclear, then the Prime Minister is still the Prime Minister. He continues to be the Prime Minister and has all the powers of the Prime Minister until he steps down,” Twomey said.
“Guardian conventions in these circumstances would normally dictate that you can’t do important things, make political announcements and that sort of thing,” she added.
Morrison and Albanese could travel to Tokyo together if the election outcome looked uncertain, she said.
The published conventions offer a range of options for an interim prime minister undertaking a foreign visit or international negotiations.
The prime minister could adopt “observer status” at the Tokyo summit or seek opposition support for any negotiating position.
Australian opposition Senator Penny Wong said she would accompany Albanese 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 a number of foreign ministers are also attending,” Wong told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. last week.
“My hope would have been, and Anthony said that if we were elected, his first visit and certainly my first visit would be to Indonesia. But obviously the first visit for him abroad would be the Quad leadership meeting in Japan” , Wong said.
Indonesia is traditionally the first overseas destination for a new Australian Prime Minister to underscore the importance of this bilateral relationship.
It is usually clear on Australian election night which party will win the majority of seats in the House of Representatives and form the government.
But opinion polls suggest the weekend’s election will be close and could result in a hung parliament in which neither the Tory coalition nor Labor hold a majority.
There is also an increase in postal voting in this election as voters avoid the risk of a pandemic in the voting booths. Postal votes take longer to count.
It took Labor 17 days after the 2010 election to win the support of enough independent lawmakers to form a minority government.
The Independent Gt