Shorten and Turnbull clash over Trump comments. Who’s in the right?

What do our prospective leaders really think about Trump? Bill Shorten has been decidedly blunt on the campaign trail when

What do our prospective leaders really think about Trump?

Bill Shorten has been decidedly blunt on the campaign trail when it comes to Donald Trump – but Malcolm Turnbull has suggested these words could get Australia into hot water.

“I got in trouble on the campaign trail for saying what I think,” shorten said on Darwin’s Hot 100 FM.

“I think Donald Trump’s views are just barking mad on some issues”.

When asked if he had a plan for dealing with a Trump presidency, the Opposition Leader had some similarly colourful phrasing:

“I once got a letter from a constituent that said, ‘What plans do you have if alien life make contact with Earth?’”

“They’re sort of scenarios you hope don’t emerge.”

The “just barking mad” comment has gotten a huge response from commentators and fellow politicians – including the PM – but Shorten has stood by his opinion, saying he was just being “straight”

“Some people had a crack and said, ‘You’re not allowed to say that’. I thought, well, John Howard did — I just happen to agree.”

Now Malcolm Turnbull has stepped in to say these words could be “against the national interest”.

“You can imagine how Australians would feel if an American president were to describe one of our prime ministerial aspirants as barking mad. You can imagine the ill will and resentment that would create in Australia,” he said.

“The Australian-American relationship is of vital importance, in every respect … What that means is that a PM, in this case myself, or those who seek to be PM, Mr Shorten for example, should be very careful about the comments they make about American politics.”

“The choice of president is Americans’ to make. It is their decision to make it and they should – that should be respected,” he said.”

Shorten, however, is somewhat less restrained with his thoughts.

“Let’s not exaggerate,” he said. “Mr Trump’s comments are truly remarkable. And if you think that someone who says that Mexicans are killers and rapists, if you think that I can’t have an opinion about someone that says, about John McCain, that he’s a war hero but Mr Trump prefers war heroes who aren’t captured.”

“I think the views he has are not views which sit comfortable with the mainstream of Australian opinion. I think that he represents a turn towards politics which is going to be destabilising for America.

“I don’t believe in a divisive nation. I don’t believe in dividing the nation. I don’t believe in setting up one group of people against another group of people. I have a different world view. But I don’t imagine that if I’m prime minister that I’m going to agree with every political view of every world leader I meet, that would be impossible.”

How diplomatic should our politicians be about other potential leaders? Who do you feel is in the right on this issue: Turnbull or Shorten? And how would you feel about a Trump presidency?

    • Faye Dapiran  

      I agree, plus the Americans were rude about Abbott, in case Turnbull has forgotten. And Trump has been called worse by other leaders, AND hopefully he will never be president.

    • Trish O'Connor  

      If you don’t lance a boil when you spot it’ll go systemic and eventually kill the host.
      No intelligent person would delay dealing with it.
      Money often interferes with intelligence. Mr. Turnbull has a lot of money.
      Kudos to Mr. Shorten for keeping it real and healthy.

  1. Keith Schadel  

    Lets leave the Americans to their own choices, just keep out of it, we have our own choices to make

  2. Robin Henry  

    In the interests of free speech, which we profess as one of our values, Shorten should be allowed to express his opinion. I’m sure Trump can handle it given the relative insignificance of Shorten and for that matter Australia on the world stage..
    I don’t disagree with all that Trump says, however, I do believe he could have expressed his views a bit more diplomatically. Pissing people off unnecessarily is never a good strategy.
    There is a backlash across the globe against left wing, marxist, high immigration governments and the Trump ascendancy is simply one of those backlashes after the horrendously damaging Obama regime.
    It will be very interesting indeed if Trump trumps the presidential competition.

    • Henry  

      In reference to, “Pissing people off unnecessarily is never a good strategy.”

      People in US like the growing number of people in Australia are already pissed off, that’s why Trump is getting such a strong support. He is, speaking on behalf of the ” pissed off “people in America and there’s a huge lot of them. Our federal and state politician have turned a blind eye to an ever growing problem. More people in Australia will demonstrate how they are pissed off, soon.

  3. Ivan Steers  

    Why not ?? Two large democracies with free speech option and Bill Shorten has done just that. So why the diplomacy ?? He certainly proving to be the leader with the backbone. good on ya Bill.

  4. Henry  

    “Let’s not exaggerate,” “Let’s not exaggerate,” in Australia, we have 150 members of the Apex gang (Afro Sudan & Somali refugees) running amok on the streets of Melbourne robbing, raping, car hi jacking, home invasions committing violent assaults and now manslaughter. We have other refugees from Middle East and from the Sub-Continent, with Mustafa names, sexually assaulting vulnerable female taxi passengers and in some cases young boys. We have pro refugee pundits including religious sects calling out for compassion and humanity for the refugees on Manus Island but no call out for the compassion and humanity for the victims of the dastardly crimes committed by refugees on-shore in Australia. We have Magistrates who are more concerned about relaxing the home imposed curfew hours on a Apex gang member guilty of past 3 crimes including violence because the curfew hours interfere with the criminals love life. This is the rot that’s been allowed to prevail in Australia.

    • Henry  

      It not surprising that people in America are supporting Donald Trump. He speaks for their sentiments, in their language, unlike most of our Australian federal and state politicians who have and are betraying all decent citizens of Australian by turning a blind eye to the incompatible cultures allowed into Australia. They can’t be allowed to sweep these problems under the carpet because it will result in more tragedies.

      • Too right Henry. 1200 groomed English girls over a 15 year period ……. hidden by the government, the police and the magistrates.
        No major Australian party is worthy of the vote in my opinion.
        Trump is on the rise and to coin a term, No amount of “Abbotting” by the media or the other politicians is going to stop him.
        I can only see two scenarios though, he will fall into line with Obama, Clinton and Bush or he will probably be assassinated and a civil war will erupt in the US.
        I will take off my tin foil hat now. 😉

  5. Peter Pearson  

    Yes our political leaders and pollies in general should concentrate on Australia’s election issues and whoever is elected and “if” trump is elected to a position of power or influence, then deal with the political fallout or skirmishes that happens from it!

  6. Frank Smith  

    I’m with Bill. In the event of a Trump presidency we should withdraw from all political entanglements with that country. Let it start and fight its own unnecessary wars

  7. Lynne Highfield  

    We’d get upset if the USA called one of our political aspirants “barking mad”??!!! What rubbish – they’d only be telling the truth with the lot we’re now supporting.

  8. Who said it was a two horse race anyway. In the senate, leave out the big 4 and in the house of reps, put the big 4 last.

  9. Anybody who doesn’t think Donald Trump is barking mad is…barking mad. Give me Bill Shorten’s honesty any day in preference to Turnbull’s slimey, sneaky, fakeness.

  10. This is what is wrong with the world, and it’s getting worse by the day. Political correctness gone nuts. Left wing progressives ruling every aspect of our life.

    Regardless of what I think of Shorten, and it’s not good (but that’s not what this is about), he is entitled to his opinion and he’s entitled to express that opinion. This rubbish about ‘causing offence’ is childish and purile. We’re adults, deal with you feelings – only you are responsible. You are the one making yourself feel bad by letting such comments get to you. Mind you own business – he wasn’t talking to or about you. And if you agree with him or not… you’re entitled to say so and I’m glad many people here did.

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