Australian ambassador warns against 'constant criticism' of 'credible' Trump administration
“If this was a five-day international Test cricket match, we would still be in the first session on the first day,” Joe Hockey said while addressing the Sydney Institute on Thursday night, in his first major speech to an Australian audience since Donald Trump took office.
“In my view we need to avoid the temptation to become constant critics of the new US administration because it is not a carbon copy of the previous administrations," he added, as quoted by News.com.au.
Hockey went on to state that Trump's White House is "very focused on practical policy outcomes," and that is is "not in the DNA of the administration to procrastinate or give undue deference to process."
He praised Trump's "very credible cabinet," which he said followed through on a campaign promise to "drain the swamp" of Washington's political elite.
Referring to Trump's rocky relationship with mainstream news outlets, Hockey pointed out that his "war against the media has public support."
He went on to state that the political revolution taking place in the US can be seen in other countries across the globe.
"It is clear that there is a connection between the centralization of political power and the disaffection and impotence felt by many citizens where this is occurring," said Hockey, who previously served as treasurer under Tony Abbott's government.
"Regular citizens have become increasingly distant from their own governments, both geographically and often ideologically. They don't trust institutions that they can't directly influence," he added.
Hockey is in Australia alongside other overseas-based head-of-missions to help Foreign Minister Julie Bishop formulate a new foreign policy strategy which is due to be delivered later this year.
The ambassador's complimentary words come despite reports of an alleged tense phone call between Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last month.
According to The Washington Post, Trump was angered during a phone call with Turnbull, telling the prime minister that he'd spoken with other world leaders on the same day and that their conversation was "the worst call by far" before hanging up on him.
The acrimonious call was reportedly to do with a deal struck during the Obama administration, in which the US agreed to take in up to 1,250 asylum seekers — held in offshore processing camps in Papua New Guinea and Nauru— from Australia.
Trump, according to the Post, said the deal would result in the US importing the "next Boston bombers."
Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017
However, Turnbull later called the conversation "frank" and "forthright," which prompted a "thank you" from Trump on Twitter — during which he also took the opportunity to slam "fake news" reports which suggested otherwise.
Thank you to Prime Minister of Australia for telling the truth about our very civil conversation that FAKE NEWS media lied about. Very nice!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2017