Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addresses infamous phone call to US President Donald Trump

By Matt Young at news.com.au

Malcolm Turnbull has said President Donald Trump "would not have to honour" Australia's refugee deal despite the promises by the United States.

"It's a deal that President Trump entered into, he would not have to honour it, but he has committed," Turnbull said.

The Prime Minister delivered a disappointing interview despite promises by Nine News he would make a "frank admission" regarding his phone call with US President Donald Trump.

Turnbull sat down with Nine Network's Political Editor Laurie Oakes for a "wide-ranging" interview on 60 Minutes; but after a week of news which described President Donald Trump's disastrous phone call to Turnbull as "the worst call ever", it's no surprise the interview focused on our alliance with the US.

READ MORE:
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He deflected probing questions by Oakes seeking comment on his "government's problems", saying, "we all reflect on what we do".

Channel Nine released a snippet which sees Oakes poking fun at "Prime Minister Trunbull", off the back of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's unfortunate gaffe where he mistakenly referred to Turnbull as Trunbull not once, but twice.

Yet, despite Oakes asking Turnbull if he was offended by the error, he said, "the important thing is results, I advanced Australia's case. We secured the commitment and I thank him for it."

He reiterated his three points which he made public prior to the interview; that the phone call with President Trump was "frank", that Trump would "honour" the refugee resettlement deal and that the President didn't hang up.

After being grilled about the America Australia alliance, Turnbull said there had never been "more public support than there has been this week" for Australia.

As revealed by The Washington Post, the US President reportedly blasted Turnbull during their conversation which took place last Saturday saying "this was the worst call by far".

Angered at having to honour the refugee deal with Australia brokered by Barack Obama, Trump blew up at Turnbull over the agreement, complaining that he was "going to get killed" politically.

Turnbull refused to comment last week: "I'm not going to comment on the conversation. During the course of the conversation, as you know and it was confirmed by the President's officials spokesman, the President assured me that he would continue with - honour the agreement we entered into with the Obama administration with respect top refugee resettlement," Turnbull said.

"Australians know me very well. I always stand up for Australia in every forum."

A day of intense confusion reigned despite the Prime Minister confirming with Sydney radio station 2GB "the report the President hung up is not correct".


But the political journalists who broke the story also claimed the President "doesn't really care" that Australia is a long-term ally.

Despite Australia being one of America's "staunchest allies", White House Bureau Chief at The Washington Post Philip Rucker told the ABC that Mr Trump "doesn't really care so much that Australia is an ally over many, many years".

"The thing you have to understand about Donald Trump is that he is not a natural diplomat, he is not a politician," he said in an interview.

"He has a career in real estate, in business and deal-making, and he ran for President as somebody who was going to disrupt the world order.

"He was going to make changes and he was going to blow up the system - literally - and disrupt what he sees as a world order that is failing the world and making it more dangerous and less safe.

"And so he doesn't really care so much that Australia is an ally over many, many years. What he cares about is the refugee policy that he views as dangerous for the United States. So he didn't let diplomatic niceties get in the way of how he felt about that refugee policy."

In the 60 Minutes interview, Turnbull also confirmed Australia would "assess all requests for military assistance on their merits" when quizzed about Australia's ongoing alliance.

"What now if the Trump Administration comes to you and says, 'we want troops for some Middle Eastern adventure' or 'we want ships in the South China Sea'? Do you now see yourself as indebted? And does he see you as indebted?" Oakes asked.

"We assess all requests for military assistance on their merits," Turnbull replied.

"And there is no linkage, no linkage at all between an arrangement relating to a refugee resettlement and any other matters."

Turnbull also commented on the beleaguered same-sex marriage plebiscite, claiming he supports same-sex marriage while pointing the finger of blame towards Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.

"We took the plebiscite position to the election, that is our policy and we are calling on Bill Shorten to rethink his position and if he supports the plebiscite then it will pass through the senate and it will be held," Turnbull said.

"Every Australian will have a say."

- news.com.au

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