What next for US-Australian ties after Malcolm Turnbull mocks Donald Trump?

Malcolm Turnbull with deputy leader Julie Bishop comments after an Australian Liberal Party meeting where he has been elected at the new party leader  at Parliament House in Canberra

As has been widely reported, Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recently lampooned Donald Trump in a stand-up performance at Canberra’s Midwinter Ball. The ball is the Aussie equivalent of the White House correspondents dinner that Trump boycotted this year, except that proceedings are supposed to be confidential.

The pair had a bumpy start to their relationship. A phone call in late January between the two was far from harmonious with Trump extremely critical of a refugee resettlement deal negotiated with the Obama administration. He allegedly told the PM that it was “the worst call by far” to a world leader and tweeted:

Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017

His administration eventually agreed to implement the agreement. Asylum seekers are currently being assessed with extreme vetting.

Audio of the send-up was leaked by veteran Australian political journalist Laurie Oakes. He argued that he did not feel obliged to follow the “off-the-record tradition” as he did not attend the event and thinks the ban is inappropriate. The Guardian’s Katharine Murphy agrees:

If the press gallery continues to agree that midwinter ball speeches off the record, we have jumped the bloody shark https://t.co/KFCbpbFf09

— Katharine Murphy (@murpharoo) June 15, 2017

Turnbull’s routine involves some impersonation of the president complete with gestures. Politicususa summarised the script:

“The Donald and I … we are winning and winning in the polls. We are winning so much We are winning like we have never done before. We are winning in the polls. We are. Not the fake polls. Not the fake polls. They’re the ones we are not winning in. We are winning in the real polls. You know the online polls. They are so easy to win. I know that, do you know that? I kind of know that. They are so easy to win. I have this Russian guy..”

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