Sunday, August 18, 2019 | ePaper
Angela Merkel's 'PM crib sheet' amuses Australia
German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets Australian PM Scott Morrison at the G20 Summit.
As Australia's fifth prime minister since 2013, Scott Morrison could probably forgive German Chancellor Angela Merkel for doing some quick study before their first meeting.
As the pair sat down together at the G20 summit, cameras captured Mrs Merkel reading an apparent briefing note about Mr Morrison. It also carried his image.
Many watching on from afar were amused, not least people in Australia.
Its government denied that the incident was embarrassing for either nation.
"Angela Merkel's department, no doubt... was simply ensuring that the chancellor was properly briefed," Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said on Monday.
Mr Birmingham said it was common for such briefing notes to feature a picture alongside a biography.
However, many noted that the scene appeared a bit awkward.
"Who is this? Australians can probably relate to Angela Merkel's predicament," read a headline in The Sydney Morning Herald.
Australia has had six prime ministers (excluding Kevin Rudd's second stint) since Mrs Merkel became Germany's leader in 2005. She has met at least five of them.
Mr Morrison became prime minister in August after his predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull, was forced out by party rivals.
US President Donald Trump also asked Mr Morrison about the leadership change when the pair met earlier at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
"We just ran through what the events were," Mr Morrison told reporters of the conversation.
Mr Morrison's centre-right coalition fell into minority government after losing a recent by-election, and remains behind the Labor opposition in opinion polls.
Australians are due to vote in a general election next year, most likely in May.