Australian Foreign Policy in Serious Need of a Rethink | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Australian Foreign Policy in Serious Need of a Rethink

One of Australia’s worst-kept secrets finally saw the light of day. In an interview with Australian journalists, the French Prime Minister Emanuel Macron called prime minister Scott Morrison a liar. This is almost unprecedented in my experience. Politicians are rarely so blunt. They prefer euphemisms such as “mistaken” or “a different interpretation” of the same facts. Morrison of course denied it, claiming that it was a slur on Australians, whereas the French president had been very careful to confine his criticism to Morrison alone, professing respect and admiration for the Australian people.

As if to prove the president’s point, Morrison’s office immediately leaked the contents of a private conversation he had had with Macron, although the leaked passage did not in fact support Morrison in this view about the actual state of French knowledge over the cancelled submarine deal. What it did confirm was that Morrison would stop at nothing to try and prove his point, putting at risk the convention that private remarks are just that, private.

Australian journalists have been reluctant to follow up the president’s remarks, although all of them have surely been victims of Morrison’s habit of rewriting history to suit his own political objectives. Confirmation of Macron’s remarks came, perhaps surprisingly, from one of the Liberal party’s own, former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull who proffered his view that Morrison was a well-known liar.