Prime Minister Tony Abbott has cancelled a trip to Bali just days before he was due to leave, rejecting an invitation by the Indonesian President to attend the Open Government Partnership conference.
Sky News reports Abbott’s agenda was simply too full with budget commitments to fit in the meeting.
Opposition leaders have criticised the decision saying it could have eased tensions with Indonesia after Australia was discovered to have tapped the president’s phone in 2009.
“Rejecting this invitation at this late stage really does put extra strain on the relationship,” said shadow foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek.
An asylum-seeker boat operation northeast of Australia is also believed to be a reason why Abbott cancelled the trip, preventing a potentially awkward situation for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono if the boat is intercepted.
But Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has backed Abbott’s decision saying “The prime minister is obviously very focused on his responsibilities here in Australia, 10 days out from our first budget.”
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