Prime Minister Scott Morrison has congratulated Joe Biden on being elected the 46th President of the United States and said he had “been a great friend of Australia over many years”.
Australia woke to the news on Sunday morning with Mr Biden declared the winner about 3.30am Sunday AEDT when Pennsylvania and its 20 Electoral College votes fell to the Democratic candidate, taking him past the 270 needed for victory.
But President Donald Trump is still yet to concede defeat, and continues to falsely claim he actually won with the election.
Mr Morrison said he would continue to “work closely” with President Trump and his administration during the transition period between now and January 20.
“On behalf of the Australian Government I also acknowledge and thank President Donald J. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for their contribution to the Australia-US relationship,” Mr Morrison said.
“Australia has enjoyed a strong working relationship with the current administration, one that has seen the strength of our alliance continue to grow and deepen.”
The Prime Minister said he looked forward to strengthening the Australia’s relationship with the United States when Mr Biden takes office.
“The President-elect has been a great friend of Australia over many years, including when he visited Australia in 2016,” he said.
“Our partnership goes back more than a century. Next year, our countries will celebrate 70 years since the signing of the ANZUS Treaty – the foundation of our security alliance.
“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.”
Mr Morrison also congratulated Kamala Harris on her election as Vice President.
Australian Ambassador to the United States Arthur Sinodinos acknowledged the possibility of challenges in the courts when he spoke to ABC Insiders on Sunday morning, but said diplomats in Washington were proceeding on the basis that Joe Biden was the President-elect.
“We’re taking the position that the election has been called,” he told host David Speers.
“The President has the right to contest this in the courts, but we, the UK, New Zealand, Canada, India, France, Germany and others have taken a view based on the information that’s been provided by the networks and others who have called it that this is the case.
“Until the 20th of January, Donald Trump remains the President of the United States. My job here at the embassy, our people at the embassy, will continue to deal professionally with our colleagues in the state department, the White House.
“(After) the inauguration, there’s a new President, we will then move to work closely with the new administration.”
Originally published as ‘Great friend’: Morrison’s words to Biden