Senator Penny Wong has told Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to pull Cory Bernardi “into line” over his public support for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Conservative Senator Bernardi has 19,000 followers on Twitter, but follows just one account himself: Donald Trump.
Currently in America on an official posting at the United Nations, Senator Bernardi began voicing his support for the fellow right-wing politician with a cheekily-captioned image of children dressing up for Halloween.
“Sometimes kids nail it!” declared Senator Bernardi of the picture, depicting a happy Donald Trump lookalike in a suit standing next to Hillary Clinton in a prison suit and pearls.
— Cory Bernardi (@corybernardi) October 31, 2016
The costume was in reference to Mr Trump’s ongoing argument that Ms Clinton belongs in jail for her use of a private email server.
Next up was a tweet that questioned how “anyone could defend” Hillary Clinton over the FBI investigation into her emails.
Jumping on the tweets, Labor Senator Wong wrote that Senator Bernardi needed to concentrate on his official duties and not campaigning for Mr Trump.
“He’s representing the [Australian Parliament]. Funded by the taxpayer,” Senator Wong said, arguing the senator should be spoken to by Mr Turnbull.
A representative for Sen. Wong told The New Daily she objected to Sen. Bernardi’s comments for their “intense partisanship”, particularly while on an official and taxpayer-funded trip.
He said the senator believed the election was “for the American people to decide”.
Turnbull needs to pull Bernardi into line. He's not in NYC to campaign 4 Trump. He's representing the Aust Parlt. Funded by the taxpayer. https://t.co/ugEvHcmIju
— Senator Penny Wong (@SenatorWong) November 3, 2016
On Thursday, Senator Wong told News Radio that Senator Bernardi “getting himself involved in supporting a particular candidate” was “completely inappropriate”.
“I would make the point he’s there representing Malcolm Turnbull, he’s there representing Australia.”
The prime minister has not publicly endorsed either candidate in the US election.
In May, Mr Turnbull chastised Opposition Leader Bill Shorten for calling Mr Trump “barking mad” in an interview with a Darwin radio station.
At the time, the prime minister said it would be “ill-judged” to make similar comments about the Republican.
“You can imagine how Australians would feel if an American President were to describe one of our prime ministerial aspirants as ‘barking mad’, he said.
“You can imagine the ill-will and resentment that would create.”
Breaking News, the FBI is investigating the Clinton Foundation and pay to play scandal. How anyone can defend HRC & WJC is beyond belief.
— Cory Bernardi (@corybernardi) November 3, 2016
Sen. Bernardi’s comments very public
The senator has not only been espousing his support for Donald Trump through his public Twitter profile, but also in a weekly blog on his personal website.
In between musings on how the Australian coffee culture has taken off in New York City, the senator made his choice for the US presidential election very clear.
Calling Mr Trump the “least bad candidate”, Sen. Bernardi wrote that the media’s hostile treatment of the Republican candidate reinforced “the need for change”.
He called Mr Trump’s opponent “the poster child for everything that is wrong with the American political system”.
“Even Clinton’s most ardent supporters are deserting her in the wake of her personal, political and financial history,” Sen. Bernardi wrote.
“Next Tuesday, unlike most of my colleagues Down Under, I’ll be cheering on a Trump victory. I hope there’ll be something to celebrate.”