It’s been an eventful week for Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Like, one of those weeks that may well come to define his tenure as the leader of the nation’s ruling party. 

You can bloody well bet 60 Minutes’ political heavy hitter Laurie Oakes recognised that fact, so it’s just as well he had a chance to sit down with the PM himself after seven absolutely chaotic days.

Oakes opened strong on tonight’s show, asking how “Prime Minister Trumble” was doing. 

Turnbull smiled through that immediate salvo, before explaining his take on that disastrous phone conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump – and the bumbling follow-up from White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

Turnbull maintained Trump didn’t hang up as per reports, and that “the important thing is results, Laurie. I advanced Australia’s case, we secured the commitment we wanted from the president, and I thank him for it.”

That’s definitely up for debate, and Oakes didn’t relent. He asked Turnbull if that refugee deal Australia signed under the Obama administration would come with caveats that may send our nation up shit creek.

Turnbull stuck to his take that Trump – the man whose brand was propped up by a book named The Art Of The Deal – wouldn’t ask us to pony up anything extra in exchange for the U.S. taking on 1,200-odd refugees currently in Australian detention facilities:

“You know that I always stand my ground, I defend my position, my nation’s position. I’ve stood up for Australia, and the president has given us a commitment to honour the deal entered into by his predecessor, and we thank him for that.”

Hell, the PM went even further than that to describe how stoked he is on the current diplomatic relationship. He doesn’t think “there has ever been more public support for Australia than what we’ve seen this week,” and that “dozens and dozens of congressman and senators” are talking about how important the alliance is.

Sure. Cool.

It wasn’t only international issues Oakes pressed Turnbull on, either. Talk of the same-sex marriage plebiscite reared its ugly head once more, and the PM maintained that it’s still his party’s stance that it should be put to a plebiscite.

Of course, unless Opposition Leader Bill Shorten suffers some kind of massive amnesia-inducing democracy-snag mishap, it seems unlikely the Labor Party will relent on its stance to block the plebiscite when parliament resumes next week.

 

Somehow, news that Turnbull donated over a million dollars of his own money to the Liberal Party only warranted a side-note in this cordial but intense exchange. 

Just make this show sixty whole minutes of Oakes chatting with the PM, please and thanks – especially after nightmare weeks like this.

Source: 60 Minutes / Channel 9.

Photo: 9Play.