POLITICS

Malcolm Turnbull Brushes Aside Concern Over U.S.-Australia Relations

'This has been a very good week for Australia.'

05/02/2017 9:18 PM AEDT | Updated 06/02/2017 12:48 PM AEDT
60 Minutes, Channel 9
Malcolm Turnbull was grilled by Channel 9's Laurie Oakes on Sunday night over whether the President would expect military support in return for going ahead with the refugee swap.

In the past week, Malcolm Turnbull has had his flagship international agreement on refugees called a "dumb deal" by the President of the United States, had his name mispronounced by the White House spokesperson on multiple occasions and faced ridicule over allegedly being hung up on by President Trump in a move that put into question future U.S.-Australia relations.

Yet the Prime Minister says it has been "a very good week for Australia".

"The important thing is results," he said, speaking to Laurie Oakes on 60 Minutes on Sunday evening.

"He gave a commitment that he would honour the refugee resettlement deal entered into by President Obama.

The deal, entered into by Turnbull and then-President Barack Obama, involved the resettlement of Australian refugees on Nauru and Manus Island in exchange for refugees from South America.

"There has never been, I don't think, more public support for Australia than there has been this week. We have seen dozens and dozens of congressmen and senators talking about the importance of the Australian alliance and talking about what a great friends we have always been to the United States."

Turnbull also brushed aside concerns that Trump's "bullying" of Australia would jeopardise the longstanding close alliance between the two nations -- or that Trump would expect something in return, such as military support in the South China Sea.

"We assess all requests on their merits, and there is no linkage -- no linkage at all -- between an arrangement relating to refugee resettlement, and any other matters," Turnbull said.

Turnbull does have some grounds for his optimism, as it seems he is back in the President's good books -- for now, at least.

After blasting the refugee resettlement deal on Twitter on Thursday AEST -- and consequently putting fuel on the fire of media reports that the President hung up on Malcolm Turnbull -- just two days later, Trump was congratulating him for putting the facts straight about their "very civil" conversation.



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