SYDNEY - Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has spoken with U.S. president-elect Donald Trump, who said the long-standing alliance between the two nations was of great importance to Washington.
"Barking mad" and “a revolting slug” were just some of the words Australian politicians used to describe Donald Trump in the lead-up to the U.S. presidential election.
But now both sides of Australian politics are promising to work with President-elect Trump, and they have chosen to be pragmatic.
At stake is Australia’s most important military alliance - that with the United States, which dates back to the early 1950s. It provides a security blanket that lies at the core of the Australian psyche.
Turnbull, who strongly criticized Trump’s crass comments about women during the campaign, congratulated the American president-elect, reaffirming the importance of a strong bilateral relationship.
"Americans understand they have no stronger ally and no better friend than Australia. And the enduring national interests of our two countries are such that our relationship will continue to be strong. We'll continue to work together as we have done with many presidents in years past to take on the challenges of our time," Turnbull said.
The Aus Gvt congratulates President Elect Trump. With our shared, enduring national interests, our relationship will continue to be strong. pic.twitter.com/xzeIXVdKIJ— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) November 9, 2016
Australia’s former prime minister, Tony Abbott, also has congratulated Donald Trump, writing on Twitter that the United States has a new leader “who appreciates that middle America is sick of being taken for granted.”
Congrats to the new president who appreciates that middle America is sick of being taken for granted.— Tony Abbott (@TonyAbbottMHR) November 9, 2016
Pauline Hanson, head of the far right anti-immigration One Nation party, celebrated Trump’s victory with champagne on the lawns outside parliament house in Canberra.
She sees the president-elect as a fellow outcast, and has savored his stunning victory.
“I am thrilled. I am thrilled with Donald Trump winning the presidency in America and I think they need a change. They are screaming out for change and that is evident in the polls,” Hanson said.
Congratulating Trump on his victory, she tweeted that her "door will always be open" for him.
Australian share prices fell by almost four percent as news of Donald Trump’s victory emerged, but has since recovered much of that lost ground.
Media commentary in Australia has been mixed. Some opinion columns have warned that a Trump presidency will fuel a trade war with China, Australia’s most important commercial partner, as well as bigotry and xenophobia.
However, a Sydney tabloid told its readers that “the silent majority has roared. The underdog has triumphed. The outsiders have given a black eye to the Establishment.”