President’s Trump’s conversation with Prime Minister Turnbull of Australia has all but shattered the hopes of the Australians of being able to see through a one-time resettlement deal between the two countries, where asylum seekers currently denied access to Australia and stuck at the ‘resettlement’ (read detention) centres set up by Australia on the Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea were to be shifted to the US instead.

Trump’s ‘leaked’ conversations with world leaders have already made headlines in the past, with Pakistan’s version of the phone call transcript between Mr Trump and PM Nawaz Sharif practically termed all but fabricated due to the positive message in the contents within. In the case of US-Australia however, the exact opposite has happened. The version of the story that first came out talked about the acrimony that was established as a result of the disagreement between the two countries over the refugee deal. The report even stated that the American President hung up the phone on the Australian Prime Minister – possibly a baseless rumour – which means that if nothing else, this call did not take the most friendly note.

This is surprising, given that both countries have a seemingly similar stance on refugees and immigration control. Pakistanis in particular must remember the anti-immigration campaign that the Australian embassy carried in print media in Pakistan, which was essentially a large ‘no’ splattered across the spaces given. Pakistanis, and indeed other immigrants or refugees, are not welcome in Australia, and this is evidenced by the lengths the country has to in establishing this perception. From 2013 to 2015, Australia sent back 20 boats carrying over 633 asylum seekers; and even if we assume some of them were lying to get into the country, a vast majority were still running to protect their lives. And Australia turned them back still.

Not only that, but many of those that were not sent back, have ended up – some for over three years – in the resettlement centres above without any trial process. Detainees are raped, abused and beaten, crimes against them at the hands of guards are a common element, and they have no hope for justice with the Australian authorities firmly looking the other way. So much for the myth that first world countries are the guardians and champions of human rights.

Australia and US stand at opposing ends currently not because of principle differences – the brazenly hostile attitude on display by both governments shows that in principle, they are on the same page. The only difference here is of means and ends; both countries want refugees out, and see no difference between illegal immigrants and asylum seekers looking to save their lives. The Trump administration’s brash attitude is likely to shock friends and foes alike, but many will get over this initial surprise and continue working with the US, provided it is in their best interests.