US embassy brushes off Australian PM's Trump joke

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

Diplomatic officials have brushed off footage leaked to the media showing Australia's prime minister making fun of US President Donald Trump.

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

The traditionally off-the-record speech was made public after a political journalist broke protocol.

But the US embassy in Canberra has said it has taken the remarks "with good humour that was intended".

"We understand that last night's event is equivalent to our own White House Correspondents' Dinner," it said in a statement shortly after the footage was aired.

Australia's ambassador to the US, Joe Hockey, also downplayed the tongue-in-cheek comments.

"I think people see it in context," he said. "I haven't been hauled into the White House and sent back to Australia."

The speech was widely reported in the American media.

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Political staffers said a government minister's suggestion that Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was responsible for the leak was "completely wrong".

The journalist behind the leak, the Nine Network's Laurie Oakes, also dismissed claims that it came from the PM himself to combat criticism that he appeared to fawn over Mr Trump during their meeting in New York last month.

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Image caption The president and prime minister famously had a difficult first phone call

One former Australian politician said that the most shocking thing about the speech was that Mr Turnbull had a sense of humour.

Mr Trump and Mr Turnbull recently repaired ties after an acrimonious first phone call over a refugee resettlement deal.

Speaking on Australian morning TV on Friday, Mr Turnbull said his Trump impersonation got "mixed reviews" and that he would not invited to join the cast of Saturday Night Live.

"It's meant to be off-the record," he told the Seven Network.

"Everyone says politicians are too serious, too scripted. You gotta lighten up right? It's Australia."

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