Josh Frydenberg cancels G20 trip to focus on domestic issues
Josh Frydenberg has cancelled his visit to Argentina for G20 following Julia Banks’ shock resignation.
Mr Frydenberg, who called a crisis meeting of Victorian Liberal MPs on Monday following the disastrous state election result, will now stay in the country to focus on domestic issues.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, a Senator, will attend the G20 in Mr Frydenberg’s place.
In another G20 development, The Australian revealed this morning that Scott Morrison will not meet with Donald Trump for a bilateral meeting at this week’s summit in Buenos Aires.
The Prime Minister was left off the president’s final list of bilateral meetings with national security adviser John Bolton saying the president’s schedule was already “full to overflowing.’
The decision means that Mr Morrison is unlikely to meet with Mr Trump before the next federal election, which polls suggest the Coalition will lose.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister confirmed there was no formal bilateral meeting with the US president.
Mr Morrison, who held a lengthy bilateral meeting with US Vice-President Mike Pence in PNG earlier this month, is expected to meet Mr Trump on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
At last year’s G20 in Hamburg, Malcolm Turnbull did not have a formal bilateral meeting with President Trump. The last time Australia was granted a formal meeting with a US President at a G20 was in 2014 when Tony Abbott hosted leaders in Brisbane
“The PM will no doubt have the opportunity to touch base with President Trump during the G20 meetings,” the spokesman said.
“But given we have no pressing bilateral issues at the moment, and the PM had an extensive opportunity with VP Pence at APEC, there is no pressing need for a formal bilateral at this stage.
“The relationship is being well managed.”
Labor treasury spokesman Chris Bowen said Mr Frydenberg’s decision to skip G20 was a “missed opportunity” reflecting a government in chaos.
“Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg’s sole focus is on whether or not the government will last the next week, not putting forward an economic plan or dealing with low wages growth or tax reform,” he said.
“Yesterday the big economic announcement was deciding on a Budget date.
“Today it’s further chaos and the Treasurer cancelling his involvement with the G20 and its important agenda dealing with international tax and financial architecture matters.”
He said closer engagement with G20 economies was vital for to further Australia’s economic interests.
The US president will also not meet with British Prime Minister Teresa May or the French president Emmanuel Macron.
The White House said today that the president will use the G20 summit beginning Saturday (AEST) to hold meetings with China’s president Xi Jinping, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders of South Korea, India, Argentina and Turkey.
The news comes as the Trump administration ramped up pressure in China to made concessions on trade to break the deadlock between the two countries in their tariff war.
“This is an opportunity, with the two presidents, to break through what have been disappointing discussions,” Mr Trump’s top economic adviser Larry Kudlow said. “This is a big deal, this meeting. And the stakes are very high.”
Mr Trump raised the stakes this week when he said he expects to move ahead with boosting tariffs of $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 per cent, saying he was highly unlikely to change his mind.
“The president intends to keep his promise,” Mr Kudlow said. “He’s not going away. I hope [the Chinese] understand that. I’m not sure they do.’
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Mr Trump has no plans at this stage to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the G20.
Mr Trump has staunchly defended the prince in the face of widespread claims that he ordered the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October.
Mr Trump’s meeting with Mr Putin comes amid escalating military tensions between Russian and Ukraine.
Additional reporting: Ben Packam, Primrose Riordan
(Cameron Stewart is also US Contributor for Sky News Australia)