Today, Rudd flies to New York on a VIP jet to give a 25-minute speech at the UN General Assembly. It will be his 16th trip in 10 months.
Said Malcolm Turnbull on Channel 9:
"The Prime Minister's got to run the country. It's a question of balance ... Just because you're sitting on an aeroplane flying to New York doesn't mean you're doing anything ... Nobody is saying that he shouldn't travel overseas. The question is, he is spending more time overseas than any prime minister in our history. He's spending more time overseas than his own foreign minister ... Have we elected a Prime minister, or a prime tourist?"There are four more trips in the planning, including meetings in Peru, Chile and Brazil in November. That's three times more overseas trips than John Howard took in his first year as prime minister, double the amount of time Foreign Minister Stephen Smith has spent overseas -- and more than most Australians travel in a lifetime.
Political commentators have already begun to describe Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard as the Government's backbone.
But to punters, his jet-setting reflects their Prime Minister's self-importance and fondness for meeting celebrities.
Amazing, last month Beijing, South Korea, Singapore, Nuie and New Zealand ... and this week New York.
See also: Around the world with Kevin Rudd by Glenn Milne