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Welcome back Mr Prime Minister: 70 trips, 391 days overseas.



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Daryl Melham - Member for Banks

Welcome Back Mr Prime Minister: 70 Trips, 391 Days Overseas

Media Statement - 25th May 2006

The Chair of the Federal Labor Caucus, Daryl Melham MP, today welcomed Prime Minister John

Howard back to Australia after his 70th Prime Ministerial trip overseas.

As Australias frequent flyer PM, Mr Howard could well write a Lonely Planet Guide to VIP travel.

Since March 1996, Mr Howard has become Australias most travelled Prime Minister, clocking up

391 days overseas, approximately 10.5 per cent of his total time in office.

While all Prime Ministers must travel overseas as part of their duties as Head of Government, Mr

Howards appetite for a red carpet welcome has certainly grown.

In his first year of office, 1996, Mr Howard made only 3 trips with only 15 days away.

In 2002, the Prime Minister went overseas 11 times for 69 days. In 2003 he made 11 trips with 64

days away. In 2004, an election year, he managed 7 trips totalling 24 days while in 2005 he

travelled overseas 8 times for a total of 55 days. Over the past four calendar years he has

averaged 53 days overseas 14.5 per cent per annum.

Mr Howards preferred destinations are clear. While serving as Prime Minister, he has visited the

United States 12 times and visited the United Kingdom 11 times. In contrast he has visited Japan

and China only 5 times each.

Mr Howard has only visited East Timor twice, his second visit to Dili being more than four years

ago.

A precise figure for the total cost of Mr Howards overseas travel is not available, but some

estimates place it in the range of $14-15 million. Certainly the Prime Minister doesnt travel cheaply

with the cost of his ten-day visit to the United States and the United Kingdom in July 2005 totalling

$616,832.

It will be of interest to see the final cost of Howards latest jaunt to the United States, Canada and

Ireland.