Labor leader Anthony Albanese accuses PM Scott Morrison of sucking up to Donald Trump


Anthony Albanese has accused the Prime Minister Scott Morrison of pandering and sucking up to outgoing US President Donald Trump along with “fringe dwellers” and “Trumpists” in his ranks.

In a major foreign policy speech to be delivered on Wednesday, the Labor leader will call for a reset for the US-Australia relationship suggesting that the Prime Minister had not done enough to build a relationship with the Democrats and incoming US President Joe Biden.

He also suggests that Australia will be left exposed for not developing a more credible position on climate change policy.

“Let’s call this what it was: Mr Morrison pandering to President Trump and those who follow him in Australia,’’ Mr Albanese says.

“And the Coalition has deliberately run down our diplomatic capability – making Australia weaker in prosecuting our interests.”

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Accusing the Trump administration of taking America “close to the brink” in the tumultuous days of early January when Trumpists stormed the nation’s capital, Mr Albanese said US democracy had been forced to demonstrate its resilience.

“Today, Washington time, Joe Biden will be inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States,’’ he says.

“US democracy has shown its resilience. Attempts to undermine it have failed.

“But America came close to the brink. The images we woke to on January 7 diminished those who seek to harm it.”

In a swipe at the Prime Minister, Mr Albanese said he needed to be stronger in his condemnation of US President Donald Trump for inciting the riots.

“It was so important for all of America’s allies to be utterly unambiguous when President Trump sought to undermine the democratic process,’’ he says.

“The great tragedy of the recent past is that the power of America’s example has been diminished from within.

“It is in Australia’s interests as a US ally to encourage the restoration of that power.”

Mr Albanese’s speech calls for Australia to “be the ally that the United States needs, rather than the ally it wants.”

“If it wasn’t already obvious, Malcolm Turnbull’s difficult first phone call with Donald Trump demonstrated the challenges building a strong relationship between our nations’ leaders would face,’’ he says.

“But Scott Morrison went too far – partly out of his affinity with Donald Trump, partly because of the political constituency they share.

“He remains afraid of the far-right extremist fringe dwellers who make up the bedrock of his personal support – and who he cultivates through the avatars of Trumpists and conspiracy theorists like Craig Kelly and George Christensen.”

Mr Morrison has previously labelled the riots and protests in Washington DC as “terribly distressing” and concerning.

But his predecessor Malcolm Turnbull has also admonished Mr Morrison for ever accepting a prestigious gong from US president Donald Trump.

“Well, look, I think it’s a great pity,’’ Mr Turnbull said.

“I think it’s a great pity that Morrison didn’t let it be known, you know make some tactful diplomatic excuse and not accept it.

“It’s a bit questionable. I think it would have been better not to accept it in the first place.”

The speech suggests that rather than an error, Labor’s recent social media posts attacking the PM as too close to Mr Trump are part of a broader strategy.

Featuring an image of the Prime Minister grinning with outgoing US President Donald Trump and giving the thumbs up to the words “it’s the company that you keep”, the post sparked division in Labor ranks.



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