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Matt Canavan claims Trump convictions a ‘political witch hunt’ as Greens declare Republican ‘unfit to be president’ | Australian politics

PoliticsMatt Canavan claims Trump convictions a ‘political witch hunt’ as Greens declare Republican ‘unfit to be president’ | Australian politics

The Australian prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has described Donald Trump’s guilty verdict as “the global story of the day” but says it wouldn’t be appropriate to weigh in on the court ruling.

Australian opposition and minor-party politicians were not so reluctant to comment, with some of them amplifying the former US president’s claims that the unanimous jury verdict was the result of a “political witch hunt”.

The leader of the Greens, Adam Bandt, declared Trump as “unfit to be president” and tweeted that it “would be a disaster for the USA, Australia & the world if he is elected again”.

Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, was found guilty of all 34 counts of falsifying business records in a criminal hush-money scheme to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

The verdict came after a jury deliberated for less than 12 hours in the first criminal trial against a US president, current or former. He is due to be sentenced on 11 July.

Albanese said he was “not about to comment on a court case over there that doesn’t involve Australians”.

“This will be, no doubt, the global story of the day but it is important that the prime minister of Australia not comment,” he told reporters in Sydney on Friday.

“We’re not a party to these court proceedings.”

He noted that he had “a close relationship” with the US president, Joe Biden, but said the alliance relationship was “between nations” and it was for US voters to decide when the presidential election is held in November.

“We would probably object to a New Zealand prime minister or a US president or a German chancellor or a French president telling us how we should conduct our political system,” Albanese said. “I wish the United States well.”

The Australian foreign affairs minister, Penny Wong, was asked during a news conference on Friday whether the election of a convicted felon would affect Australia’s relationship with the US.

Wong told reporters in Adelaide that the US would continue to be “our most important strategic partner and ally” and “our relationship goes beyond partisan politics”.

Penny Wong says Kevin Rudd will continue as ambassador if Donald Trump is elected president – video

The Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young tweeted: “The crook is guilty. Sometimes good things do happen to bad people!”

But the Nationals senator Matt Canavan wrote on X that it was “sad what has happened to the American ‘justice’ system”.

Canavan denounced it as “an embarrassing political witch hunt and one US trend we should not follow”.

The United Australia party senator Ralph Babet tweeted “Trump 2024” alongside a photo of Trump with the words “never surrender” superimposed on it.

Babet – whose party is promoting a tour to Australia next month by the former Fox News host Tucker Carlson – also retweeted a post from Donald Trump Jr, Trump’s son, comparing his father’s conviction to the assassination of President John F Kennedy.

The federal opposition leader, Peter Dutton, told the Nine Network: “Obviously it will make for an even more exciting election, I suppose, in November.”

Dutton agreed with the Today show host Karl Stefanovic that Trump would use the verdict to galvanise his supporters.

“I think you’re spot on,” Dutton said. “You look back to 2016. He won no electoral votes in New York. He’s despised there.

“There’s obviously two tribes here and the one tribe who detest him and hate him … and the other tribe love him and adore him, and for different reasons on both sides. And all it will do is reinforce the views on both of those camps.”

The deputy opposition leader, Sussan Ley, told the Seven Network that Australia’s relationship with the US was “more important and bigger than any one individual, any one leader or any one government”.

The Victorian Labor premier, Jacinta Allan, labelled the verdict as “astonishing”.

“This is quite another remarkable turn of events,” she told ABC Radio National.

“At a time when we are seeing such significant global instability, how that plays out in streets, in towns and communities across the world, we need a strong and stable US, and I guess that’s really now for the American community to work through.”

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