Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has suggested US President Donald Trump is wasting his time by complaining about media coverage, citing the example of British wartime leader Winston Churchill.
Mr Trump has repeatedly described media criticism of him as “fake news” since taking office last month, labelling the media as the “opposition party”.
On Thursday, the US President dismissed a growing controversy about ties between his aides and Russia as a “ruse” and a “scam” perpetrated by a hostile news media.
Mr Turnbull, whose relationship with Mr Trump got off to a rocky start earlier this month, said the 45th American President should stop focusing on the media.
“A very great politician, Winston Churchill, once said that politicians complaining about the newspapers is like a sailor complaining about the sea,” he told reporters in New Zealand.
“There is not much point. That is the media we live with and we have to get our message across and we thank you all in the media for your kind attention.”
Relations between the United States and Australia were strained earlier this month when Mr Trump said a planned refugee swap between the two nations was a “dumb deal”.
That followed a Washington Post report about an acrimonious telephone call between the two leaders that attracted headlines worldwide.
Mr Turnbull, who was in New Zealand for official talks with his counterpart Bill English, said he would carefully assess any requests from the US for more troops to fight the Islamic State group.
“As I just said earlier we will assess any and every request from the United States on its merits and make a decision,” he said.
“We haven’t received that request, but when we do we will assess it very carefully.”
Mr Turnbull said Australia and New Zealand would continue to advocate for free trade.
“My view, and I know Bill’s position as well, is that that is absolutely the wrong thing to do,” he said.
“Free trade, more trade means more jobs, means more growth.
“Protectionism is not the ladder to get you out of the low growth track, it is the shovel to dig it deeper and deeper and deeper.”