SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

MEDIA RELEASE

15 December 2018

MORRISON HUMILIATED IN EMBASSY BACKDOWN

The Government’s decision to maintain Australia’s embassy in Tel Aviv is a humiliating rebuff to the Prime Minister.

It confirms Mr Morrison’s proposal to shift the embassy to Jerusalem was just a cynical ploy to try to pretend he had shifted position for votes in Wentworth.

Recognising West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, while continuing to locate Australia’s embassy in Tel Aviv, is nothing more than a face saving exercise that shows Mr Morrison continues to put self-interest ahead of the national interest.

This is a decision which is all risk and no gain. It is a reckless move by a desperate and divided government that satisfies no one.

It’s yet another example of Mr Morrison’s colleagues attempting to dig the prime minister out of a hole caused by yet another reckless decision entirely of his own making.

It puts Australia out of step with the international community and shows Mr Morrison is not prepared to put the nation first and do what is right for Australia.

We know Mr Morrison’s politically motivated announcement to float moving the embassy came in the face of clear advice from DFAT, PM&C and other agencies that his actions would damage important international relationships.

Mr Morrison’s own hand-picked panel of experts further humiliated the Prime Minister by rejecting the embassy move.

Now, just to save face, he is prepared to continue to defy expert advice put self-interest ahead of the national interest and risk causing further harm to Australia’s relations with our neighbours.

Labor is a strong supporter of the state of Israel. That will never change.

Labor does not support unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on the grounds that this is a final status issue that should be resolved as part of any peace negotiations and two-state solution.

We will not support any policy that undermines the prospect of a two-state solution which recognises Israel’s right to exist within secure and recognised boundaries and the creation of a Palestinian state.

Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra.