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Australian Leaders Berate Donald Trump as Election Nears

  • Phil Mercer

FILE - YouTube screen grab from video obtained by The Washington Post of lewd conversation about women between Donald Trump and Billy Bush.

FILE - YouTube screen grab from video obtained by The Washington Post of lewd conversation about women between Donald Trump and Billy Bush.

‘Loathsome’, ‘vile’ and a ‘pig’ - some of the stinging criticism of Donald Trump by leaders of one of the United States’ most loyal allies - Australia. The Republican candidate’s vulgar comments about women have been sharply rebuked by both sides of politics in Canberra, although Trump does have support among some MPs.

NEWSREADER: “Well, Donald Trump’s lewd video comments about women have been met with almost universal condemnation in Canberra.”

Donald Trump’s obscene remarks about women prompted an extraordinary backlash by parliamentarians in Australia. Rarely has an American politician been on the receiving end of such biting criticism.

“Donald Trump. He is an absolute repugnant animal who absolutely deserves to apologize and to have very single Republican who is well-respected over there walk away from him,” said Emma Husar, a federal Labor lawmaker.

Even the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, speaking alongside a cabinet colleague, Michaelia Cash, was in no mood for diplomatic niceties.

FILE - Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks in Sydney.

FILE - Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks in Sydney.

“The comments were demeaning, they were disappointing and they were wrong, full stop,” he said.

REPORTER: Prime Minister?

“And I would add to that. They are loathsome and they deserve the absolutely universal condemnation that they have received,” Turnbull continued.

But the avalanche of criticism of the Republican candidate has gone too far, according to a member of the upper house of parliament in Canberra.

David Leyonhjelm, a Liberal Democratic Senator, says the response of Australia’s politicians should have been far more muted.

“Misogynist, sexist, even a groper, if he is president of the United States we are still in an alliance with the United States and he would still be the head of government in the United States," said Leyonhjelm. "We would have to find a way to work with him, so my suggestion would have been to say ‘well, I don’t like what he said and I hope he doesn’t say it again but leave it at that.”

Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump is seen in a video screengrab as he apologizes for lewd comments he made about women during a statement recorded by his presidential campaign and released via social media after midnight Oct. 8, 2016.

Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump is seen in a video screengrab as he apologizes for lewd comments he made about women during a statement recorded by his presidential campaign and released via social media after midnight Oct. 8, 2016.


And some academics argue that should Trump win, then Australia’s special military alliance with the United States, which dates back to the early 1950s, could be at risk.

“The widespread sentiments in Australia indicate that Trump is not just a rude, crude, lewd buffoon who is incapable of understatement, to put it mildly and politely, but that the policies he represents, whether it be on trade, foreign policy they upset so many Australians because they could culminate in dismantling the Australian-American alliance, which has been part and parcel of the Australian defense outlook and the national psyche for 65 years,” said Tom Switzer, a senior fellow at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.

Senators Pauline Hanson and Derryn Hinch argued in parliament.

FILE - Australian Senator Pauline Hanson.

FILE - Australian Senator Pauline Hanson.

HINCH: “That you, as a woman, could even make any justification for what he (Trump) has said and what he has done is just…

HANSON: “I did not condone what he said.”

Back in Canberra, there have been open clashes in the corridors of power between the independent Senator Hinch and Hanson, the head of the anti-immigration One Nation Party, who said some of the condemnation of Donald Trump had been unfair.

HANSON: “Now let’s be honest about it, there are a lot of men out there that say horrific probably up to the same standard.”

HINCH: “A normal man in a private conversation would not talk about this.”

Hanson, who wants to ban Muslim immigration into Australia, knows more than most what is fueling anti-establishment rage. She sees Donald Trump as a fellow outcast.

“What is happening in America is people have had enough," she said. "They have had a gutfull of the major political parties, their country is going down the tube , there’s no work, there’s problems in the country. It is up to the people now; will they overlook his comments that were said in private although he was stilled micced up , or will they say, no, he may be a different man to run this country. It is up to the people to decide.”

The New South Wales parliament’s upper house has unanimously passed a motion condemning Donald Trump’s behavior. Jeremy Buckingham, a Greens Party MP, compared him to a garden pest.

“Mr President, I give notice that on the next sitting day I will move that this House:(a) condemns the misogynistic, hateful comments made by the Republican candidate for President of the United States of America, Mr Donald Trump, and agrees with those who have described Mr Trump as ‘a revolting slug’ unfit for public office,” said Buckingham.

Australian officials have not made any strong public criticisms of Trump’s opponent, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Australia is the only nation to have stood alongside the United States in every conflict since the allies first fought side by side against the Germans in World War One, and interest here in the U.S. presidential election remains high.

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