Albanese heads to NATO summit as trouble brews back home

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will fly to Europe today to attend the NATO summit in Spain as the world confronts the fallout from the war in Ukraine and its impacts on the global economy. 

It is the first time an Australian leader will attend a NATO meeting since Kevin Rudd in 2008. 

Aside from discussing rising fuel and food costs caused in part by the war between Russia and Ukraine, Albanese is expected to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Anthony Albanese will head to Europe today for the NATO summit. (AP)

Australia has had strained relations with France since it pulled out of a $90 billion deal submarine deal.

Meanwhile, the prime minister looks set to come back to a storm of his own making after angering crossbenchers by cutting staff allocations to members of parliament.

Two crossbenchers, ACT Senator David Pocock and Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie, have threatened to vote against Labor government legislation over the move, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Lambie said the staff cuts would mean she would struggle to get across the detail of proposed Labor bills.

“I thought Labor were supposed to be the grown-ups?” she said.

“If we can’t go through the legislation [with advisers] how can we vote on it? I’m not voting for something that I can’t go through.”

Jacqui Lambie.
Jacqui Lambie is not happy about staffing cuts. (Alex Ellinghausen)

Albanese has said the number of advisers allocated to MPs will be cut from four per MP to one. 

The MPs will continue to have four lesser paid advisers to deal with constituency matters.

Nine political editor Chris Uhlmann said while any protests from crossbenchers would not cause an issue for Labor in the Lower House, it could potentially be problematic when it comes to passing legislation in the Senate.

“(Albanese) doesn’t need them in the Lower House because he has the numbers there. He does need them in the Senate. Labor needs to get all the Greens on board, plus one, so he needs one more senator in the Upper House,” Uhlmann said.

The staffing cuts are expected to save the government around $4 million.

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