Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he won’t be joining 125 other world leaders at a United Nations climate change summit because he has important business in parliament.
Mr Abbott will travel to New York next week to participate in UN talks on Iraq and terrorism, but will miss the September 23 climate summit hosted by UN chief Ban Ki-moon.
Mr Abbott confirmed on Tuesday Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will attend the summit in his stead.
“My first duty in a sense is to the Australian parliament and that’s where I’ll be early in the week,” he told ABC radio.
“There are quite a lot of things happening in the Australian parliament in the next week or so.”
The government plans to put its next tranche of anti-terrorism legislation to parliament next week.
The climate summit is next Tuesday (US time) and US President Barack Obama’s special meeting of the security council is on Wednesday and Thursday, both at the UN headquarters in New York.
The European Union commissioner for climate action Connie Hedegaard told the ABC it was a pity the Australian prime minister couldn’t join other world leaders at the one-day summit.
It’s hoped this climate meeting will speed up negotiations for a global deal on cutting emissions at another summit in Paris in 2015.
While in New York, Mr Abbott will also deliver Australia’s national statement to the UN General Assembly and meet with key leaders ahead of November’s G20 meeting in Brisbane.