Prime Minister Scott Morrison – speech in response to questions raised by Tanya Plibersek on the topic of moving Australia’s embassy to Jerusalem

photo of Scott Morrison MP
October 16, 2018

As Prime Minister, I’ve made announcements today which flag that our government is open to considering, in the context of a two-state solution, which we do not resile from—in fact, it was because of our commitment to a two-state solution that we believe that we need to be open to more innovative ways to progress that agenda and that should involve consideration not only of the recognition of the capital of Israel being Jerusalem, but also of a Palestinian state in East Jerusalem, and for an embassy to potentially be located in West Jerusalem.

Full speech

Ms PLIBERSEK (SydneyDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:44): My question is to the Prime Minister. In June when asked whether Australia would follow President Trump and move its embassy from Tel Aviv, the now Prime Minister said: ‘No, no, it’s not the government’s policy. It has never been under review and we’re not doing it.’ Does the Prime Minister stand by this statement? Or is the Prime Minister really so desperate to save Wentworth that he will say and do anything, even if it means overturning 70 years of bipartisan foreign policy?

Mr MORRISON (CookPrime Minister) (14:45): My statements in June reflected the policy of the government at the time.

Opposition members interjecting

Mr MORRISON: It did. As Prime Minister, I’ve made announcements today which flag that our government is open to considering, in the context of a two-state solution, which we do not resile from—in fact, it was because of our commitment to a two-state solution that we believe that we need to be open to more innovative ways to progress that agenda and that should involve consideration not only of the recognition of the capital of Israel being Jerusalem, but also of a Palestinian state in East Jerusalem, and for an embassy to potentially be located in West Jerusalem.

Tomorrow morning the United Nations will vote on the G77 decision that would allow Palestine to take up the chair of the G77. Our government will not be sitting on the fence. We will be voting no on that decision. In addition to that, as has been explained by the Minister for Defence, we are reviewing without prejudice our position on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran nuclear deal. This is an issue of real concern within the Jewish community, as I’m sure members opposite know and are being silenced by members like the member for Sydney or the member for Watson, or the faction within New South Wales, controlled by Bob Carr, who is making the Labor Party walk away from their support of Israel which was once understood and was once appreciated, and now the Labor Party cannot form a view on this.

Well, our government can form a view. We are for a two-state solution, and we are for our support for the nation and state of Israel and we are for working together to go and achieve that solution in a way that considers the proposal that we could potentially have recognition of the capital in Jerusalem and potentially have embassies located in Jerusalem. Now, the Labor Party won’t even allow that thought to pass their minds. All they have simply said today is, ‘We have not made progress, and we are not making progress to a two-state solution in the Middle East.’ If you keep doing the same thing, as the Labor Party wants to do, you will not get a different outcome.

We believe in a two-state solution, and we’re prepared to listen to innovative ideas, like those from the former ambassador to Israel, Dave Sharma, who would know more about this issue than any single person sitting on those benches. And I would welcome his contribution in this chamber as someone who understands the sensitivities and the complexities of achieving a two-state solution. So we know what Dave Sharma stands for. We know what I stand for— (Time expired)

Ms Butler interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Griffith, who has been warned yet again, will leave under 94(a).

The member for Griffith then left the chamber.

Link to parliamentary Hansard

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