NEWS
17/11/2011 06:29 GMT | Updated 22/11/2011 11:35 GMT

What's Going On Between Obama And The Australian Prime Minister? (And No It's Not A Benetton Advert)

Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard shared an intimate meeting Down Under, photos have revealed.

The leaders unveiled a new defence strategy during the meeting that will see US marines stationed in the northern territory in Australia.

However the military partnership between Gillard and Obama was revealed in a much softer display for the cameras.

Their speech to Australian troops and US Marines at a Royal Australian Air Force Base in Darwin was peppered with happy smiles and wry glances. It seems Obama the charmer is working his magic again, after earlier this month the woman who refused to curtsey to the Queen was pictured cheek-to-cheek with the leader.

After their speech at the Air Force Base Gillard’s pale manicured hand trailed across the back of Obama’s smart suit as the two left the stage arm-in-arm, her fingers dangling close to Obama's backside.

Born in the same year, the two send each other birthday cards, with Gillard often noting that 1961 was “a good year.”

Speaking of Gillard in warm and informal tones, Obama flattered his host:

“In my friend Julia, we see the qualities we admire: down to earth, easy to talk to and says it like it is, straight up.”

Closer to home, Gillard was given a less charming mention by David Cameron.

During a dinner speech, the old Etonian mimicked Gillard's broad Australian accent, saying Australia’s hosting of the Commonwealth heads of government conference was “good news for Sheilas everywhere.”

Dressed “as an extra from Downtown Abbey” the accent was described “so bad it could cause a diplomatic row.”

However charming Obama seems to play confidante to many world leaders. Earlier this month, he was overheard sympathising with Sarkozy’s frustration with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

After Sarkozy called Netanyahu a liar, Obama commiserated: "You're fed up with him? I have to deal with him every day."