Premier: Trump ban doesn't affect Australia passport holders

By ROD McGUIRK - Associated Press ,

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Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. (Photo: AP)

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The White House had assured Australia that its passport-holders won't be affected by President Donald Trump's executive order suspending immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, the Australian prime minister said on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull made the announcement after 15-year-old Pouya Ghadirian said the U.S. Consulate in Melbourne refused him a visa Monday to go on a school trip to the United States because he had an Iranian passport as well as an Australian passport.

"Our ambassador has just called me to say that he's had assurances, confirmation from the White House, that Australian passport-holders — regardless of their place of birth or whether they are dual nationals or whether they hold another passport — will remain welcome to come and go to the United States in the usual way," Turnbull told Sky News television.

Turnbull added: "We have a very strong relationship with the United States, we work very closely with them, we have very strong relations with the new administration and we're very engaged."

Turnbull said the case of Ghadirian, who was born in Melbourne to Iranian parents, could be reconsidered by American authorities, although he was not familiar with the reasons behind the visa refusal.

Trump signed an executive order last week banning immigration for citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations, including Iran, for 90 days.

Turnbull has been criticized by political opponents for not joining other world leaders in publicly condemning the order.

"My job as prime minister of Australia is to advance the national interest of Australia and to protect the interests of Australian citizens," Turnbull said. "So when I need to give frank advice, fearless advice to the United States government, I do so privately."

He said he will not comment on U.S. domestic policy.

"My job is to get results for Australians and that's what I've done today," Turnbull said.

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