Morrison makes drought his priority as Trump tweets his congratulations
Australian politics Morrison makes drought his priority as Trump tweets his congratulations
The new prime minister will visit farmers in Queensland next week on his first official outing
Donald Trump, the Indonesian president and Australiaâs drought-stricken farmers have all been on Scott Morrisonâs agenda on his first day as prime minister.
The newly minted leader spent his first day in Canberra drawing up his new cabinet ministry and met deputy prime minister Michael McCormack and national drought coordinator Major General Stephen Day to highlight his focus on a drought fix.
But he also fielded a congratulatory tweet from the US president a day after replacing Malcolm Turnbull as the countryâs prime minster.
Trump wrote there are âno greater friends than the United States and Australia!â, but made no mention of Turnbull, with whom he has had a famously rocky relationship.
In August last year, the Washington Post published extracts from a phone call between Trump and Turnbull, which reportedly became heated.
Morrison also spoke on the phone to the Indonesian leader, Joko Widodo, on Saturday. Turnbull had been due to travel to Indonesia next week to sign a free trade deal but Morrison will not make the trip, opting to stay at home to formulate domestic policy.
His first official visit will be to Queensland next week to see first-hand the problems being suffered by farmers in the state.
âIâm not pretending to know one end of a sheep from another,â Morrison said on Saturday.
âBut I do know people are hurting in the country, and they have been hurting terribly.â
Morrison acknowledged the one-week-old appointment of Major General Day by his predecessor Malcolm Turnbull.
But defeating the drought would require bringing together all the resources of government at all levels.
âAnother major general once told me donât rush to failure, and I think itâs important we listen, we plan, we coordinate and we respond,â Mr Morrison said.
He said it was Major General Dayâs job to do just that.
âIâm up to the challenge,â the major general responded.
âDealing with the drought is a team sport. Iâm glad to be on the team.â
Labor welcomed Mr Morrison prioritising drought as âgood news,â but said the role of climate change needed to be acknowledged.
Jacketless and with sleeves rolled up, McCormack said he was happy at efforts the government had recently made to help out rural small businesses.
âWhen our regional people are hurting - and they are really hurting in this dire situation - our nation hurts too,â he said.
For that reason, he was glad Morrisonâs first port of call was drought-affected Queensland.
âI donât have an akubra mate,â Morrison quipped. âSo Iâll just have to wear my Sharks hat,â he said, referring to his local NRL club in Cronulla.
Trump wasnât the only foreign leader to congratulate Morrison.
Jacinda Ardern, t he New Zealand leader, told reporters in Auckland on Friday that she had spoken to Morrison to congratulate him.The topsy-turvy week in Australian politics â" in pictures Read more
âI look forward to building a really strong relationship with him,â Ardern said.
âRegardless of whoâs in charge weâll keep advocating in the same way on behalf of New Zealand. Certainly, Iâll make an assumption here based on the role heâs had in the past that heâll know New Zealand and its fine attributes really well.â
The relationship between the two countries has soured of late over Australiaâs policy of deporting New Zealanders who have failed character tests, usually as a result of criminal convictions.
Since changes to Australiaâs Migration Act in 2014, the number of deporta tions of foreign nationals on character grounds has soared, and New Zealand citizens have made up the vast bulk of those removed.Some have been issued with deportation orders despite having no family connections or friends in that country, or anywhere elseo to go.
In July, the New Zealand justice minister, Andrew Little, told the ABC Australiaâs deportation of New Zealanders had a âvenal, political strainâ to it, and questioned the countryâs commitment to humanitarian rights and ideals.
Australia âdoesnât look like our best friend, our nearest neighbourâ, Little said.Topics
- Australian politics
- Scott Morrison
- Donald Trump
- Jacinda Ardern
- New Zealand
- Share on Facebook
- Share on Twitter
- Share via Email
- Share on LinkedIn
- Share on Pinterest
- Share on Google+ < li> Share on WhatsApp
- Share on Messenger
- Reuse this content