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Malcolm Turnbull should walk away from the refugee deal with the US

Michelle Grattan writes in The Conversation (2.2.17) about reports that US President, Donald Trump, has threatened to renege on the deal struck for the US to take refugees from Nauru and Manus Island. She argues that Malcolm Turnbull should walk away from the arrangement before further damage is done to Australian-US relations.

‘It’s the last thing Malcolm Turnbull would want to do, or will do. But what he should do is walk away from the deal he struck with the Obama administration for the US to take refugees from Nauru and Manus Island.

‘He should then persuade his cabinet to grant a one-off amnesty, and let these people settle in Australia.

‘It would be a drastic and, for many in the government, a deeply unpalatable course. But the road Turnbull now has Australia travelling – that of the supplicant – is against our national interest. It’s one that sees the unpredictable Donald Trump treating the US’s close ally with near contempt, one that makes the Australian prime minister hostage to the US president’s capricious behaviour.

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Ian Hall writes in the ‘Machinery of Government’ blog (2.2.17) about the fallout from the US President’s dismissive attitude toward the refugee resettlement deal struck by his predecessor, Barack Obama, and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

‘The report in the Washington Post that President Donald Trump berated Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over the refugee settlement deal and angrily ended their phone call has rightly caused consternation on both sides of the Atlantic.

‘Inevitably, it has also brought the Australia-United States defence alliance under scrutiny once more, but if one positive thing could come out of all the turmoil of the first few days of this Presidency, it might be that Australians start to think more creatively – and not just along the well-worn lines laid out in the last few years – about its interests and how to secure and extend them.’

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