Prime Minister Tony Abbott has arrived in Davos, where he’ll stress to his global counterparts that Australia’s hosting of the G20 summit will be about actions not words.
Mr Abbott arrived in the Swiss alpine resort on Tuesday and he will join up to 2500 of the world’s political and business leaders for the four-day World Economic Forum.
The first Australian prime minister to attend the event since John Howard in 2005, Mr Abbott will deliver a keynote address on Thursday outlining the agenda for Australia’s hosting of November’s G20 summit in Brisbane.
He said the top priority this week looking ahead to the G20 would be encouraging free trade among global powers “because free trade is at the heart of the wealth of nations”.
He also wants to show the world Australia is “under new management and open for business” and intends to take the first steps to ensure the G20 will deliver results.
“We are determined that this year, under our presidency, the G20 will be about real actions. It will be about specific outcomes,” Mr Abbott told Australian reporters.
“It won’t simply be just another international talk-fest.”
Mr Abbott says this will be done by encouraging and stressing the need for individual nations to focus on promoting growth domestically and, in turn, globally.
He says Australia will be operating “by word and by deed”.
“We have a good story to tell and I’m confident by the time of the G20 leaders’ meeting in Brisbane in November, we’ll also have some very important runs on the board in terms of deregulating and boosting growth back home,” he said.
In the wake of some unflattering polls, Mr Abbott was also keen to link the significance of global and domestic issues.
“The bottom line of my presence here in Davos is to strengthen our economy, to help to strengthen the global economy, because that means more jobs for the people of Australia.”
In a wide-ranging press conference for travelling Australian media, Mr Abbott also branded Opposition Leader Bill Shorten “cocky” for calling him a potential one-term prime minister and said Indonesia was Australia’s most important single relationship” in the wake of recent tensions between the nations.
Mr Abbott spent the morning meeting with Swiss business leaders in Zurich in a bid to promote investment.
He was greeted with steady snowfall and a temperate of minus three degrees Centigrade upon arrival in Davos before meeting with the forum’s founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab.
Mr Abbott was to meet with Australian business leaders over dinner later on Tuesday, while he’s expected to take part in several bilateral meetings in the coming days, including separate talks with Japanese President Shinzo Abe and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Wednesday.
He could also meet with others world leaders including South Korean leader Park Geun-hye, British PM David Cameron and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu.
A record number of national leaders is attending this forum, although Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin are among the absentees.