Australia’s Fears Over Trump’s Return Are Baseless, Ex-Prime Minister Says

(Bloomberg) -- Australian concerns about Donald Trump’s potential return to power are “baseless hyperventilation,” ex-Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, adding the former president is a major supporter of the US-Australia alliance.

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Morrison, one of the primary architects of the Aukus security pact with the US and UK, said he had worked with both Trump and President Joe Biden during his time in office from 2018 to 2022. Asked about the implications of a second Trump administration for Australia, he said it would mean “a president who was deeply committed to the alliance.”

“There’s been a lot of baseless hyperventilation about this,” Morrison said in an interview on Tuesday. “People are getting themselves tied up in knots over things looking from this side of the Pacific into a US polity which they, I don’t think, understand. They’re overreading any number of things here.”

Morrison met with the former president during a visit to the US in May, after which he said Trump had expressed a positive opinion toward the Aukus pact. Since leaving parliament, the former prime minister has joined the private sector, including a consulting firm run by former Trump national security adviser Robert O’Brien.

Under the Aukus agreement, which Morrison signed with Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 2021, the three countries have committed to delivering a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines for Australia by the 2030s.

Morrison was adamant that if Trump won the presidential election in November, he would keep the Aukus agreement in place. “There is nothing to suggest he would do anything other than support it,” the former prime minister said.

“His administration was the big disrupter when it came to how the world was looking at China — economically, strategically, militarily — and so to think that a Trump administration would somehow not be supportive of an initiative that was designed to counter that? I just don’t understand the premise,” Morrison added.

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Morrison said he was concerned about the speed at which Australian businesses were rushing back into China in the wake of a relaxing of tensions over the past two years. Most of the curbs imposed by Beijing against Australian exports after Morrison called for an independent investigation into the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020 have since been lifted.

The former Australian leader, who in his final speech before the parliament earlier this year warned against the threat of China, said on Wednesday that businesses dealing with the world’s second-biggest economy “should properly price that risk.”

“This is not the pre-end of Cold War, globalization period. That’s finished,” Morrison said. “That finished when Xi Jinping became the general secretary of the Communist Party of China.”

“Don’t think the People’s Republic of China won’t seek to turn off your business and your revenue on any given afternoon if they see fit,” he added.

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