• Hannah Phillips

The Week in Politics

At the start of the week the Morrison government looked to have difficulties.

There was significant criticism of his decision to review the idea of moving the Australian embassy from

Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The prospective election of Dr Kerryn Phelps to the House of Representatives had brought increased attention on the issue of children on Nauru and climate change.

Dr Phelps accused the Prime Minister of reneging on commitments to resettle the asylum seekers on Nauru in New Zealand and to pass legislation protecting the rights of gay students in religious schools.

Scott Morrison’s problems increased when Malcolm Turnbull turned up in Bali to lead an Australian delegation to an oceans conference.

Supporters of this Prime Ministerial initiative said that it was a good plan because it would help calm Indonesian concerns over the Jerusalem embassy move and assist in achieving Indonesia’s signature on the free trade agreement.

Conservatives inside and outside the party were of the view that it would all end in tears.

As it happened, the former Prime Minister met with President Jokowi and duly told a press conference in Bali that Indonesia would be very unhappy at any attempt by Australia to move the embassy.

He then went on to gratuitously dump on the Morrison government by adding that his government had considered the Jerusalem option “through the proper processes and rejected it.”

Apart from being politically damaging to the Morrison government this comment broke the convention that Australian representatives abroad don’t criticise the government at home.

Unabashed Malcolm Turnbull agreed to appear on a special edition of Q&A next Thursday to give his views on the Morrison government.

In the meantime Labor leader Bill Shorten is having a dream run with a major foreign policy speech on Tuesday and the Andrews Labor government a mile ahead in Victoria on the back of the Turnbull replacement.

However he does have his own problems.

An alliance of a million retirees is united in its opposition to Labor’s retirement taxation policies.

This is an issue that is likely to cause Labor problems as the election approaches.

John McDonnell

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