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Aus not indebted to U.S. over refugee deal

08 February 2017

Meanwhile, Spicer says that Trump has agreed to honor the Obama administration deal to resettle up to 1250 people who are seeking asylum in Australia.

The White House wrongly named Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as "the President of Australia" on its website over the weekend, days after reports of a heated phone call between him and President Donald Trump.

The Obama administration agreed to resettle Australia's refugees after Australia agreed in September previous year to accept Costa Rican refugees fleeing drug wars.

At a White House briefing on Thursday, spokesman Sean Spicer said Mr Trump had "tremendous respect" for the Prime Minister.

Labor MP Anne Aly, the first Muslim woman in the Australian Parliament and a counter-terrorism expert, said the countries targeted by Mr Trump were not the major exporters of foreign fighters and therefore it made little sense as a security measure.

This disclosure puts a new complexion on the much-discussed call, which ended with Mr Trump describing it as "the worst call by far" of a series with national leaders, according to the Washington Post's account in details denied by neither government.

Since the phone call Turnbull has fought off suggestions he will have to make some sort of trade with Trump in order for the refugee deal to go thorough.

"I don't think there has ever been more public support for Australia than there has been his week", Turnbull said.

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Turnbull refused to comment last week: "I'm not going to comment on the conversation".

The arrangement for the United States to accept asylum seekers from the two Australian offshore camps was originally struck betwen Mr Turnbull and then U.S. president Barack Obama. "This has been a very good week for Australia".

On Monday, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported that Senator Cory Bernardi was about to abandon the Liberal Party, the senior coalition partner, to set up a more conservative wing - the biggest party split in a generation.

Labor frontbencher Andrew Giles said he was "so concerned ... about the utterances of President Trump because they do seem to be a threat to a rules-based worldwide order".

The President of the United States also allegedly bragged about the size of his electoral victory.

Turnbull responded, "We assess all requests for military assistance on their merits".

"We took the plebiscite position to the election, that is our policy and we are calling on Bill Shorten to rethink his position and if he supports the plebiscite then it will pass through the senate and it will be held", Turnbull said.