Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at Our Ocean Conference in Bali, Indonesia on Monday. Picture: Firdia Lisnawati/AP
Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at Our Ocean Conference in Bali, Indonesia on Monday. Picture: Firdia Lisnawati/AP

Turnbull’s embassy warning to the PM

FORMER prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has warned his successor of moving the Australian Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem after meeting with the Indonesian President.

Mr Turnbull met with President Joko Widodo on Monday in Bali as part of an Australian delegation attending a global conference.

Following the meeting, Mr Turnbull said the Indonesian President had expressed "serious concern" over the plan to shift Australia's embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"There is no question, were that move to occur, it would be met with a very negative reaction in Indonesia. This is, after all, the largest Muslim-majority country in the world," Mr Turnbull said, according to Fairfax Media.

Mr Morrison floated the idea of shifting the embassy in the dying days of the Wentworth by-election campaign, where more than 12 per cent of voters are Jewish.

When asked today about the possible move, Mr Morrison stressed a decision had not yet been made on the matter and the Government would follow a proper process.

"Let me stress, Australia decides what our foreign policy is, and only Australia," he said.

He said "no" he did not regret raising the issue. The idea was suggested by Liberal candidate Dave Sharma, who later lost the by-election contest in Mr Turnbull's former seat to independent Dr Kerryn Phelps.

The potential policy shift came after the United States said it would recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, angering the Muslim world.

Dr Phelps criticised the possible embassy move saying she thought it was a "politically motivated decision" that had occurred "without a comprehensive analysis of the defence, trade and security implications" for Australia and the two-state solution. However, she did not rule out supporting it.

Following criticism, Mr Sharma later emphasised there was no plan yet, just a review and rejected suggestions the announcement was aimed at benefiting his election.


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