Much of the domestic commentary surrounding the 2018 Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting (the Forum) in Nauru centered on the new Australian prime minister’s decision not to attend in person. This is by no means unusual, either for Australia or indeed for other forum members. Since the Forum’s foundation, member countries have often been represented by deputy prime ministers, foreign ministers, other ministers or special envoys when leaders have been unable, or unwilling, to attend.
This In Brief looks at patterns of attendance by heads of government at Forum meetings since the organisation’s establishment in 1971. It considers only full members of the Forum (not associate members). Data is drawn largely from communiques issued at the conclusion of the Forum’s regular meetings.