Australia

Anthony Albanese believes Scott Morrison pandered too much to Donald Trump


Anthony Albanese believes Prime Minister Scott Morrison pandered too much to Donald Trump during his time as US president.

The Labor leader is set to deliver a speech at the University of Western Australia on Wednesday ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration as president, during which he will hit out at the Morrison government’s handling of foreign policy and the US-Australia alliance.

He will accuse Mr Morrison of cozying up too much to Mr Trump and criticise him for not directly condemning the outgoing president for inciting the Capitol riots, as well as for not calling out coalition MPs Craig Kelly and George Christensen for sharing misinformation on social media.

“Unlike most world leaders, Scott Morrison refused to disavow President Trump’s incitement of the storming of the Capitol,” Mr Albanese will say.

“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 Albanese will say Mr Morrison went “too far” in seeking close ties with Mr Trump, in part due to his affinity” for him and because of the “political constituency they share”.

His wide-ranging speech is also set to touch on increased tensions between the US and China, Mr Morrison’s criticism of multilateral institutions, Australia’s cutting of $11.8 billion from the foreign aid budget and the government’s policies on climate change.

Mr Albanese will call for the Australian government to “come to the table on climate change” with the incoming Biden administration, that unlike Australia, has backed a net-zero emissions target by 2050.

“Scott Morrison’s stubborn resistance to joining the global consensus on climate change has led to his government now being totally isolated on the international stage – frozen in time while the world warms around them,” he will say.

“We can expect Mr Morrison’s isolation to create tension in our alliance and damage our interests.”

Mr Albanese will also call on the federal government to work closely with the Biden administration in the Indo-Pacific.

“The arrival of the Biden administration presents an opportunity to expand alliance cooperation on the challenges before the world and our region,” he will say.  

Mr Morrison on Tuesday said he was not planning to speak with Mr Trump before he leaves office and has not spoken to him since before the US election.

He spoke on the phone with outgoing Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday where they, according to a government brief, thanked each other for their partnership, particularly on the Indo-Pacific, and agreed there was no more important time than now for a strong Australia-US alliance.

Mr Morrison has said of his relationship with Mr Trump that he has “worked closely with the president, as you would expect me to.”

In December, Mr Trump awarded Mr Morrison a prestigious US military honour in recognition of his “leadership in addressing global challenges and promoting collective security”.

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