Trump: Where did Mal go?
IT’S the question Scott Morrison is unwilling to answer and now even Donald Trump wants to know: “Why is Malcolm Turnbull no longer the Prime Minister?”
The US President quizzed Mr Morrison about the August leadership change yesterday when the pair met for the first time at the G20 summit in Argentina. As the third Australia Prime Minister to attend the meeting of the 20 biggest economies since 2014, Mr Morrison admitted his counterparts had queried the August spill.
“They have their inquiries,” he said. “We ran through what the events were.”
Appearing together after a 25-minute private meeting, Mr Trump backed Mr Morrison’s prime ministership, claiming he got the top job because he was willing to do what Australians wanted.
Mr Trump said he was anticipating having a “fantastic relationship” with Mr Morrison. “We are just getting to know each other,” he said. “So far, so good.
“I know you’ve done a very good job in a very short period of time. You’ve done a lot of things that they’ve wanted to be done, that’s why you’re sitting right here.”
Mr Morrison avoided discussing with Mr Trump the controversial plan to move Australia’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as the US has done. Mr Trump welcomed the Government’s review of the Iran nuclear deal, from which the US has withdrawn. On day one of the meeting, Mr Morrison did his best to avoid Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who faces accusations he ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul in October. But the Crown Prince found a friend in Russia’s President Vladimir Putin who high-fived and joked with him on the sidelines of the summit.
Mr Morrison also met with French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss the multibillion submarine deal between the two countries.
“We are getting very close to finalising that arrangement,” Mr Morrison said.
He also scheduled a meeting with representatives from the EU to try to advance postBrexit free-trade discussions. Trade tensions have dominated talks between global leaders on the first day of the summit.
World leaders are expected to try to encourage the US and China to back down from their escalating trade war, as fears mount that it could damage financial markets.
Shortly after arriving in South America, Mr Morrison said he came to the G20 as an optimist. “Australia has always been a successful trading nation and that’s how we’ll continue to ensure the prosperity for our people,” he said.
HANDS UP IF YOU FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE: Prime Minister Scott Morrison with, back from left, World Health Organisation director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Inter-American Development Bank president Luis Alberto Moreno, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and front, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Brazilian President Michel Temer at the G20 sunmit in Argentina yesterday,
SHAKE IT OFF: Mr Morrison with President Donald Trump.