German Chancellor Angela Merkel takes a look at her notes at the start of her meeting with Australia’s 30th Prime Minister Scott Morrison during the G20 summit in Bueno Aires pic.twitter.com/PYDo8gM7rX
— Alex Ellinghausen (@ellinghausen) December 1, 2018
Merkel has seen six different Australian prime ministers during her time as German Chancellor, including Kevin Rudd twice.
What happened to the other guy, Malcolm Turnbull, she must have thought? What about Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard and Rudd, and remember that one who lasted a good decade, John Howard?
She, and other world leaders, wouldn’t be alone in wondering the same thing. Many Australians are still questioning the revolving-door era of Australian prime ministers that hasn’t been particularly well explained.
And by the looks of current polling, Merkel can expect a seventh before she’s done leading Germany, with Bill Shorten likely to make an appearance at the next summit in 2019.
Morison, who took on the top job just months ago in August, just seemed happy and enthusiastic to be there in Argentina — although his meetings did sound awkward as questions were raised. Phillip Coorey in the AFR described the silence that occurred as Morrison and Merkel sat down to chat. Morrison smiled, while Merkel flipped through her not-so-subtle notes on just who she was meeting with, and took a look at her watch.
Merkel’s recent announcement that she would soon be stepping down at the end of 2021 certainly looked somewhat odd from the perspective of an Australian voter. A transition period? We know little of such things. Merkel’s been the Chancellor of Germany since 2005 and the leader of her party, the Christian Democratic Union, for eighteen years.
Merkel, who so often stands out as one of the very few women involved in the G20 summit photos, will be missed. It’s not just the memorable moments, like that eye roll she gave Donald Trump, but also her negotiation skills and ability to get the (mostly male) leaders to pay attention. The below photo, shared on Merkel’s own Instagram account back in July at the G7 Summit in Canada was particularly telling:
Meanwhile, Merkel missed the traditional ‘family photo’ of world leaders this weekend, meaning just two women featured: British prime minister Theresa May and International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde. It was the lowest number of women featured in years.