Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull denied Australia was asking for trade favours from the United States in exchange for military cooperation.
Mr Turnbull told 7.30 host Leigh Sales that military and trade deals with the US had never been linked.
“We’ve our economic relationship, we have our security relationship. We don’t make economic decisions based on a security, you know, on a military commitment somewhere,” he said.
The pair also discussed America’s embrace of protectionism over free trade, and the Prime Minister’s records in the Newspolls.
Sales asked the Prime Minister if he would step down or open a leadership spill if he lost 30 Newspolls in a row — one of the reasons he cited for challenging Tony Abbott for the prime ministership — and a benchmark Mr Turnbull may soon hit.
“Leigh, as far as the leadership of the Liberal Party is concerned, it is as John Howard always said, in the gift of the party room. That’s the test,” he said.