Just 24 hours after being sworn in as Australia’s 31st prime minister, Anthony Albanese will be tucking his feet under a table full of powerful international leaders.
The lightning-fast one-day Tokyo visit to meet with US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Ministe Fumio Kishida and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue will be an immediate foreign policy test.
The leaders will gather in the shadow of Beijing’s growing ambitions for the region, and the recent official signing of the China-Solomon Islands security pact during the Australian election campaign.
Known by its shorter title of “The Quad”, the diplomatic talks are also expected to canvas climate policy, an area Anthony Albanese has identified as his key prime ministerial legacy.
On the plane ride to Tokyo, Anthony Albanese was in touch with another key strategic ally, conducting a 25-minute conversation with UK leader Boris Johnson.
The discussion was described by Australian government sources as “friendly and very positive”, the pair speaking about the along with climate policy.
Mr Albanese is also expected to have one-on-one meetings with all three Quad leaders.
While the rise of China is likely to dominate, there will be significant discussions about climate commitments.
So far, Labor has agreed to cut emissions by 43 per cent by 2030.
It’s unclear whether the situation in Ukraine will be raised on a detailed level, a sore point for India which has so far decided against imposing any sanctions on Russia over the invasion.
Cyber warfare and the ongoing impacts of the pandemic relief efforts are also likely to be on the table.
The prime ministerial plane, previously labelled “Shark 1” for Scott Morrison’s favourite rugby league team the Cronulla Sharks, is now undergoing a rebrand with a new nickname under consideration, “Toto 1”, a homage to Mr Albanese’s dog.
Anthony Albanese’s pick for Foreign Minister Penny Wong has accompanied him on this Japanese flying visit, where she’s expected to meet her counterparts on the sidelines of the talks.
Before buckling into the plane she recorded a video message for Pacific nations.
“I’ve become foreign minister at a time when our region faces unprecedented challenges, but we will face these challenges together.”
“We want to help build a stronger Pacific family.”
In the wake of the Quad discussions, there will be even more focus on the reactions from those Pacific nations, and which family they decide to align with.