Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), Peter Jennings, says it would be “silly” to claim - as Scott Morrison does - that there is no connection between this week’s announcement about the possible relocation of Australia’s embassy to Jerusalem and Saturday’s Wentworth byelection.
This kind of decision would not have been considered by Malcolm Turnbull, Jennings says and if Julie Bishop were still foreign minister she “would have put up quite a fight”.
On Morrison’s general foreign policy approach so far, Jennings says the new PM seems to be taking a more “conciliatory tone” to China. “If we see the Prime Minister moving away from the relatively hard line position that Malcolm Turnbull evolved over several years about China, that to me would be a concern.”
Authors: Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra