Australian politicians watching US count

Daniel McCulloch
·2-min read

Senior Australian politicians are closely watching the United States election count but insist the alliance will remain solid regardless of the outcome.

Joe Biden is on course to become US president, but Donald Trump has launched legal action to challenge results in several battleground states.

Mr Trump continues to make baseless claims about "illegal votes" and the election being stolen from him.

As the president peddles conspiracy theories, Mr Biden is urging Americans to remain patient and calm as mail-in ballots are tallied.

"The people will not be silenced, be bullied, or surrender. Every vote must be counted," he said.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese wants the prime minister to contact Mr Trump and convey Australia's view that democratic processes must be respected.

"It is absolutely in Australia's national interest that the United States remains a stable and a credible democracy," he told reporters in Sydney.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton described the protracted US contest as "an amazing spectacle".

"Obviously some matters are heading to the court and votes are shifting around," he said.

"Whatever the outcome, our friendship will be as strong as ever.

"Let's hope it's resolved sooner than later, but that's a question for the US."

Deputy Opposition Leader Richard Marles is content to wait for a result.

"Elections sometimes take time to get the result, this is playing out as was expected in the US," he said.

"Our job at the moment is to just give them the space to land this, and I'm sure they will."

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said he had confidence in America's democratic institutions to withstand the claims of voter fraud and tampering.

"I have no doubt that elections will be conducted and counted fairly, and that the democratic will of the American people will ultimately be what we see upheld," he told 5AA radio.

"Whether that involves legal challenges or not, we will end up with the president, I'm sure, who reflects what the majority opinion in the US is as a result of votes cast freely and fairly.

"And that's what we should all see."

Senator Birmingham reflected on a concession speech the late John McCain gave after losing to Barack Obama in 2008.

He described the former US senator as a wonderful man and "the greatest president, perhaps, that America never had".

"I think we can all hope that, at the end of this very fraught election period, whoever the loser is, is able to muster the type of strength of character and goodwill to be able to repeat some of those very admirable sentiments."