In what is becoming somehow even more embarrassing as each passing moment progresses, the biff between France and Australia over submarines has now evolved to the point where French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron is outright calling Scott Morrison a liar. And he’s ah… ya know… probably not wrong.
Morrison and Macron are at odds over a submarine deal between the two nations – struck under the watch of then-PM Malcolm Turnbull – which Morrison casually tore up in favour of a nuclear submarine agreement between Australia, the UK, and the US. A move that he may, or may not, have neglected to tell Macron about beforehand. As one does.
Encounters between the two at the G20 summit in Rome have been icy, to put it mildly. But Macron blew things wide open earlier today (Australian time) by flat out accusing Morrison of lying to him.
In a quick confrontation with SMH reporter Bevan Shields, Macron was asked if be thought Morrison had lied to him.
“I don’t think, I know.”
I ask French President Emmanuel Macron whether Scott Morrison lied to him: “I don’t think, I know.” pic.twitter.com/3tcg4xrl90
— Bevan Shields (@BevanShields) October 31, 2021
In subsequent questioning directed at our own PM, Morrison replied that he didn’t “agree with” Macron’s assertions, did not “accept it,” but heroically skipped around the direct issue nonetheless.
When asked whether Morrison informed Macron directly that he was considering exercising an out clause in the submarine contract, the PM replied “I was very clear that conventional submarines were not going to be able to meet our strategic demands, and that we would need to make a decision in our national interest.”
When it was pointed out that that was not the question that was asked, Morrison simply replied “But that’s my answer.”
Morrison’s time at the G20 hasn’t exactly been pleasant. The Macron confrontations have distracted from whatever carefully constructed message the PM was hoping to deliver, and his interactions with other world leaders have cast less as a man of global significance, and more as the last pick in the draft waiting desperately for his name to be called.
Scott no friends.
— Patrick Gorman MP (@PatrickGormanMP) October 31, 2021
Real friendless loser shit, that. Embarrassing stuff.Image: Getty Images / Chesnot