Scott Morrison congratulates Biden on US win while Malcolm Turnbull declares ‘what a relief’ | Australian politics

The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, has congratulated Joe Biden on his victory in the US presidential election, while his predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull, succinctly said “what a relief”.

Morrison on Sunday morning local time said he looked forward to coordinating with the new Biden administration on Covid-19 and on technologies to reduce “global” emissions.

Donald Trump, who was on the golf course when the news broke that he was to be a one-term president, has not yet conceded defeat and is continuing to make unsubstantiated claims casting doubt over the legitimacy of the process.

But world leaders, including Morrison, have lined up to congratulate the president-elect and his running mate, Kamala Harris.

The Australian prime minister said: “Today, the world faces many challenges, including managing the Covid-19 pandemic, on both a health and economic front, ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific region, and peace and stability.”

“American leadership is indispensable to meeting these challenges and upholding the rules, norms and standards of our international community,” Morrison said in a statement.

“We also look forward to working with president-elect Biden and his administration to continue to fight the Covid-19 global pandemic and recession, to develop a vaccine, drive a global economic recovery, and develop new technologies to reduce global emissions as we practically confront the challenge of climate change.

“We welcome the president-elect’s commitment to multilateral institutions and strengthening democracies.”

With Biden’s victory projected, Turnbull, the former Australian prime minister, kept his reaction on Twitter succinct.

He later told ABC TV that Biden’s win would mean a return to “normal transmission” with the US administration no longer making decisions by “wild tweets” in the early hours of the morning.

Biden has pledged that America will rejoin the Paris agreement and will reach net zero emissions by 2050. The incoming president is also signalling he will take steps to reinvigorate global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – a development that is expected to ratchet up diplomatic pressure on Australia.

Morrison has been emphasising that Australia will take a technological approach to emissions reduction, and the Coalition is thus far resisting pressure to sign up to a net zero commitment by mid-century despite being a signatory to the Paris agreement.

While some in the Liberal party feel the Coalition needs to turn the page on the climate wars the National party will resist moves to increase ambition around abatement.

Morrison on Sunday morning noted Australia had enjoyed “a strong working relationship with the current administration, one that has seen the strength of our alliance continue to grow and deepen”.

He said Australia would “continue to work closely with president Trump and his administration in the transition period between now and 20 January”.

The projected result overnight was also welcomed by the Labor opposition leader Anthony Albanese.

Albanese said: “The US alliance has been our most important partnership since WW2 and your commitment to leadership will see this strengthened into the future.”

After Trump last week falsely claimed victory in the presidential election and flagged supreme court action to truncate the count, Labor declared American voters deserved to have their voices heard. The shadow foreign affairs minister, Penny Wong, said the democratic process needed to be respected “even when it takes time”.

On Sunday morning Australian time, Trump was still claiming without evidence that Republican observers were blocked from scrutineering in counting rooms.

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