Prime Minister Scott Morrison – responding to questions by Bill Shorten on the topic of Australia moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

photo of Scott Morrison MP
October 25, 2018

I consulted with all the ministers of the National Security Committee before I indicated one simple thing, and that is that I found the arguments of the Liberal candidate for Wentworth, the former ambassador to Israel, Dave Sharma, who had put forward a very, I think, convincing proposition that in advancing a two-state solution we could also consider the possibility of recognising the capital of Israel being Jerusalem persuasive. I don’t resolve from that.

Full speech

Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:01): My question is to the Prime Minister. Can the Prime Minister confirm that his government told the media of his Jerusalem embassy announcement before it told the acting chief of the Australian Defence Force or, indeed, told a single official from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade? And can the Prime Minister confirm that the first discussion he had with his Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade about moving the embassy—a major foreign policy decision—was just 48 hours before the announcement?

Mr MORRISON (CookPrime Minister) (14:02): What the government has done is initiated two processes. The government has made no decisions on these policies. The government has done two things. Apart from voting no in the General Assembly of the United Nations, together with the United States and Israel, on the matter before the general assembly last week, I indicated last week that we would initiate two processes. The first was to review without prejudice the Iran nuclear deal. That process is now underway, and that is chaired by the Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. On the other matter, we dared ask the question and we dared consider that Australia might have a different position on this issue, and we are initiating a process on that matter as well which will fully consult all those who would need to be consulted before a final decision is made. The Leader of the Labor Party may not think it’s okay for governments to consult with each other and dare ask a question—

Mr Shorten: My point of order is on direct relevance. I was asking about the timing of this rushed decision and whether it was correct that he told the media before he informed his colleagues or indeed spoke to his own departmental or Defence officials.

Mr MORRISON: I consulted with all the ministers of the National Security Committee before I indicated one simple thing, and that is that I found the arguments of the Liberal candidate for Wentworth, the former ambassador to Israel, Dave Sharma, who had put forward a very, I think, convincing proposition that in advancing a two-state solution we could also consider the possibility of recognising the capital of Israel being Jerusalem persuasive. I don’t resolve from that. All I know is that the Australian people know where we stand on these issues and, as always, they have not the faintest idea about where the Labor Party stands. As far as I know, they all think Israel is a rogue state, just like the Deputy Leader of the Labor Party.

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