Even Australians dislike President Donald Trump

Henrietta Strickland
June 24, 2017

Australia's relationship with the United States remains strong but some of us harbour concerns about having Donald Trump in the White House, a nationwide survey has found.

However the most striking finding for us Kiwis was New Zealand's ascension to "best friend" status, overtaking the United States as the preferred answer when Australians were asked who their "best friend" in the world was. That's a 7 percent increase in two years.

Six out of 10 Australians said the first-term United States president had caused them to have an unfavourable view of the U.S., the annual Lowy Institute poll found.

Australia has long sought to find a balance between supporting its key strategic ally, the US, while engaging with China, its biggest trading partner. The president is not popular in Australia.

But 77 per cent support the Australia-US alliance, a view shared by Labor leader Bill Shorten.

More Australians trust Japan than the United States to act responsibly in the world, according to the results of a poll released Wednesday (June 21).

"The presidency of Donald Trump" was ranked by 42 percent of people as a "critical threat" to Australia, ahead of asylum seekers coming to Australia by boat (38 percent) and the foreign policy of China and Russian Federation.

The U.S., which opposes China's expansion there, has urged the Australian government to take a stronger stance against China or else have a strained relationship with the U.S.

While more than half the population (53 percent) said that the total number of migrants coming to Australia each year is "about right" or "too low", 48 percent said that asylum seekers in detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru "should never be settled in Australia". Lowy said that was a statistical tie, given the poll's margin of error.

But at least they have a best friend in New Zealand.

While 79% feel safe, 68% see worldwide terrorism as a critical threat to Australia's vital interests; 65% see North Korea's nuclear program as a critical threat, with climate change at 57%.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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