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Anthony Albanese’s diary. Albo works long hours, but who does he meet with?

by Kim Wingerei | May 29, 2024 | Government, Latest Posts

Anthony Albanese’s diary proves a PM hard at work. But who did he meet with? Kim Wingerei checks in on the Prime Minister’s priorities.

It took the endurance of MWM’s Transparency Warrior, Rex Patrick, to have the PM’s diary released after a protracted court battle for Freedom of Information. His FOI request was specifically related to “meetings/discussions (in-person or by remote means) between the Prime Minister and persons/entities external to the executive government.”

Unsurprisingly – and in some cases understandably – many of the diary entries are redacted. The reasons given include relevancy (to the FOI request), Cabinet confidentiality (an often over-used excuse), the personal safety of any person (e.g. travel between meetings) or personal details.

And there are oddities (why was the Qantas $6m 100th birthday party not noted?)

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So who does the PM meet with outside of the daily cut-and-thrust of Parliament and the bureaucracy?

Captains of (some) industries

During 2023, Anthony Albanese had a dozen meetings and phone conferences with company CEOs and chairs.

This included one-on-ones with Rio Tinto boss Jacob Stausholm, who also scored an Albo site visit in WA, and BHP Chair Ken McKenzie. Like most PM’s Albo did get to speak at the Business Council of Australia’s (BCA) annual shindig of C-suite and consultancy types. BCA’s Jennifer Westacott and Tim Reed also scored a meeting with the PM before the event.

Anthony Albanese also met once with the CEO of Perdaman, the – ahem – exuberant Vikas Rambal. Perdaman is a WA chemicals and fertiliser company with a colourful history. Rambal was once in partnership with Indian high-flyer, Pankaj Oswal.

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The only other industry represented in meetings with the PM during 2023 was the Pharmacy Guild’s Trent Twomey. He didn’t meet with anyone from the health or aged care sector, nor anyone from growth industries such as IT, AI, renewables or rare minerals.

Bankers, financiers and insurance execs were equally notable in their absence, as were farmers, educators, builders and supermarket bosses. In fairness, the latter may have been too busy attending Senate and other inquiries.

He didn’t even meet with Alan Joyce! At least not one-on-one, although peculiarly, Albanese’s attendance at least one publicised Qantas event was absent from his diary (but not from the paparazzi).

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We also noted only two meetings with union bosses in his diary, in contrast to twice as many meetings during the year with media execs from Nine Entertainment, News Corp and Foxtel (but not MWM!). Maybe a sign of him keeping his friends close but his enemies closer?

Albo and the media

The PM started 2023 with a frenzy of more than 20 media interviews during January 2023, excluding pressers and appearances at floods and other crisis events.

Apart from the (not diarised) parliamentary ‘door-stops’, Albanese is not big on press conferences, preferring interviews. His favourites appear to be Rupert Murdoch’s Sky (with 14 appearances during 2023), ABC (although only once on Insiders) and, of course, Seven’s Sunrise and Nine’s Today Show, with 10 and 9 appearances respectively.

His radio favourites are the ABC and 2GB, with Ben Fordham and Chris O’Keefe scoring six appearances between them through the year.

That the PM spends time on media is a good thing, of course, but it is notable that he was particularly busy in the week before the Voice referendum on October 14, with 21 TV and radio appearances. A case of too much and too late?

The Airbus Albo myth

The Airbus Albo myth was created by The Australian and other News Corp rags, in their usual effort of discrediting a Labor PM. Albanese’s diary tells a very different story. He travelled to New Zealand once during the year to the obligatory international summits, and attended King Charles’s Coronation, as he would.

There were no detours to seek out old relatives or side trips to Hawaii as Scott Morrison did, although he did have time to meet with the Oz’s royalist-in-chief, Greg Sheridan, just before leaving London. A sleeping remedy before his long return flight perhaps.

The Albo diaries are a testament to a very busy man with little extra time on his hands. In the time-honoured tradition of Australian PMs, his only ‘vice’ appears to be cricket. But who would begrudge him three meetings to pick the right Prime Minister’s XI?

Diary entries from January 1 to March 31, 2023

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Diary entries from April 1 to June 30, 2023

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Diary entries from July 1 to December 31, 2023

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Kim Wingerei is a businessman turned writer and commentator. He is passionate about free speech, human rights, democracy and the politics of change. Originally from Norway, Kim has lived in Australia for 30 years. Author of ‘Why Democracy is Broken – A Blueprint for Change’.

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