Australian politicians have issued some jarring calls for patience and respect for the democratic process amid a fraught US election, which President Donald Trump falsely claimed to have won.
Their statements outline how some of Australia’s elected officials feel about the SNAFU overseas, but there are a few notable exceptions.
After Trump baselessly challenged the legitimacy of uncounted mail-in ballots, which threaten to upturn his slim lead in several pivotal states, Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong said it was essential for Americans to “have their voices heard.”
“The democratic process must be respected, even when it takes time,” Wong said, adding that America descending (further) into a pool of degeneracy won’t benefit Australia.
“It’s in Australia’s interest that America remains a credible, stable democracy,” she said.
Again, that’s a comment from an elected official, about the structural integrity of one of our primary international allies. It was also re-shared on Twitter by Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese.
Americans have voted in historic numbers in this election.
They deserve to have their voices heard.
The democratic process must be respected, even when it takes time.
It’s in Australia’s interest that America remains a credible, stable democracy.
— Senator Penny Wong (@SenatorWong) November 4, 2020
Their colleague, Shadow Health Minister Chris Bowen, went even further. He insinuated that if some other strongman were lording over an election like Trump has done, Australia would issue a Very Stern Response™.
If this were a developing democracy, Australia would probably issue a statement about now demanding that rule of law be respected, that every vote be counted, that we will be closely monitoring….
— Chris Bowen (@Bowenchris) November 4, 2020
For his part, Greens leader Adam Bandt directly called on Prime Minister Scott Morrison not to flinch at Trump’s unearned claim to victory, saying Australia really needs to wait this one out before jumping to his wild conclusions.
Scott Morrison must not recognise Donald Trump's terrifying early claim of victory.
Australia must commit itself to waiting until the electoral process is finished. https://t.co/A0BsWdgKDp
— Adam Bandt (@AdamBandt) November 4, 2020
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young labelled Trump’s late-night speech as “clearly and concisely as an attack on democracy, while fellow Senator Mehreen Faruqi called Trump a straight-up fascist.
Donald Trump’s speech tonight was chillingly Orwellian.
It needs to be called out for what it is, clearly and concisely as an attack on democracy.
To ignore undermines faith in free and fair elections, nor just in the US, but everywhere
— ???????? Sarah Hanson-Young (@sarahinthesen8) November 4, 2020
Donald Trump is a fascist. Tonight’s turn of events, disturbing as it is, should not surprise anyone. Hope sanity prevails & all votes are counted. Democracy must not be shut down.
— Mehreen Faruqi (@MehreenFaruqi) November 4, 2020
In an extremely on-brand move, even former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – who famously tussled with Trump over the phone after the 2016 US election – has called on the Americans to “count every vote.”
Count every vote.
— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) November 4, 2020
Turnbull’s eventual successor in the seat of Wentworth, Liberal MP Dave Sharma, is also on the record calling for a “a peaceful transfer of power when needed.” (First up, this is America we’re talking about; secondly, I’d love to hear him explain when a peaceful transfer of power is not needed.)
Above all else, being a democratic leader means respecting the verdict of the voters, the sanctity of the process, and facilitating a peaceful transfer of power when needed. Patience and humility are both necessary virtues.
— Dave Sharma (@DaveSharma) November 4, 2020
Notably absent from all of this chatter is Prime Minister Scott Morrison himself, who has not issued a public statement on Trump’s clearly cooked address.
Meanwhile, our Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, appears to be focused on closer allies.
Warmest congratulations to the Kingdom of #Tonga on the 145th anniversary of its constitution. This year also marks 50 years of formal diplomatic relations between our two countries. Together, we are committed to a prosperous and stable #Pacific. ‘Ofa atu, Tonga! ???????????????? pic.twitter.com/eUSGibTT9D
— Marise Payne (@MarisePayne) November 4, 2020
Expect an update on this one in the morning, when Australia might wake up to a new – or crushingly familiar – political reality in the United States.Image: Joe Raedle / Getty Images