Australian PM Turnbull mocks Trump in leaked audio

media captionPM Malcolm Turnbull: “The butt of my jokes was myself"

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been recorded apparently mocking US President Donald Trump in footage leaked by the media.

Mr Turnbull was filmed speaking at an event for the Australian media at Parliament House on Wednesday night.

The event is normally not reported on, but the political editor at Australia's Nine Network said he had chosen to break protocol and make it public.

Mr Turnbull said the report was "a breach of faith."

Mr Trump and Mr Turnbull recently repaired ties after a troubled start.

They had an acrimonious first phone call over Mr Trump's reluctance to honour a deal to accept up to 1,200 refugees from Australian detention camps.

But last month the two leaders met in New York, after which Mr Trump described their relationship as "fantastic".

'Winning at the polls'

In the leaked footage, Mr Turnbull performs a jokey routine for guests at the Mid Winter Ball for the media.

Adopting the mannerisms of the president, he says their meeting was "beautiful. It was the most beautiful putting-me-at-ease ever".

"The Donald and I, we are winning and winning in the polls. We are winning so much, we are winning, we are winning like we have never won before," he said.

Mr Turnbull saw a 10-point drop in approval ratings for his government in a March poll, with only a slight recovery in the latest May numbers.

But Mr Trump is also facing tough polling numbers - his disapproval rating hit a new high of 59% in a recent Gallup poll.

Mr Turnbull also jokes that polls are "so easy to win" adding: "I have this Russian guy..." in reference to Mr Trump's long-running difficulties with allegations that his campaign officials may have colluded with Russian hackers to influence the election outcome.

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The prime minister appeared on Melbourne's 3AW radio show with Tom Elliott to discuss a different issue, but briefly addressed the controversy and said he, rather than Mr Trump, was the butt of his joke.

"It's a good-humoured roast," he said. "My speech was affectionately light-hearted."

He said the speech was supposed to be "off the record" and that next year, "at the mid-winter ball, I'll read selected passages from budget paper number two."

"It's a breach of protocol, it's a breach of faith, and all those things... you've got to have a laugh, you've got to lighten up."

Nine's political editor Laurie Oakes, who first reported the remarks, said he did not attend the ball himself, but that the audio "just happened" to leak and a sample had been posted on Instagram.

His employer said Mr Oakes "does not believe reporting should be banned at events hosted by journalists".

Australia is one of the closest allies of the United States.

Troops from the two countries have fought together in all recent major conflicts including Iraq and Afghanistan.

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