25 Jul 2014

Australian PM latest to skip Forum summit

2:08 pm on 25 July 2014

Australia's government has announced that the prime minister, Tony Abbott, will not be attending next week's Pacific Islands Forum leaders summit in Palau.

Mr Abbott, who is yet to attend a Forum summit, says he is preoccupied with other matters such as the response to last week's downing of a Malaysian Airlines plane in the Ukraine.

Australia will instead be represented in Palau by the deputy prime minister Warren Truss and parliamentary secretary for the Pacific Brett Mason.

New Zealand's prime minister John Key is also forgoing the meeting, saying it is too close to the election in September.