Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball’s disastrous phone call with President Trump might have thrust him into the international spotlight, but polls show “embarrassed” Australian voters have turned against him in droves since the incident.
Pundits say Australians are embarrassed their Prime Minister used his first phone call with President Trump to air his dirty laundry in public and attempt to push thousands of unwanted refugees on their closest ally, the United States.
Support for Turnball’s Liberal-National coalition has nosedived to it’s lowest point since he took office, slumping a huge 4% overnight to 35%, according to a Newspoll conducted Feb. 2-5, published in the Australian newspaper.
Bloomberg reports: The government trails the main opposition Labor party 54 percent to 46 percent on a two-party preferred basis.
Turnbull has started the year under pressure at home and abroad. Trump last week railed against a “dumb deal” that Australia signed with the Obama administration to send more than 1,000 refugees to the U.S. for resettlement. His performance on domestic matters is also under scrutiny amid mounting signs of fiscal weakness.
The Washington Post reported last week that Trump berated Turnbull over the resettlement deal in a Jan. 28 phone call. Under the agreement struck with Obama in November, the U.S. was to take more than 1,000 refugees from nations such as Iran and Iraq, who are currently being held in Pacific island camps.
Turnbull says he expects Trump to honor the deal and on Sunday noted an outpouring of support for Australia from U.S. lawmakers.
“I don’t think there has ever been more public support for Australia than there has been this week,” Turnbull told the Australian version of 60 Minutes. “We have seen dozens and dozens of congressmen and senators talking about the importance of the Australian alliance and talking about what a great friend we have always been to the U.S.”
However support from US lawmakers and senators won’t save Prime Minister Turnball from the wrath of his own citizens.