Over the course of the past week I have been taking leave with my family. Our leave was brought forward due to the need to cancel our scheduled leave in January because of our official government visit to India and Japan at the invitation of PMs Modi and Abe.
I deeply regret any offence caused to any of the many Australians affected by the terrible bushfires by my taking leave with family at this time. I have been receiving regular updates on the bushfires disaster as well as the status of the search for and treatment of the victims of the White Island tragedy. The Commonwealth’s responsibilities have been well managed by the Acting Prime Minister, Minister Littleproud and Minister Payne.
As noted, given the most recent tragic events, I will be returning to Sydney as soon as can be arranged.