Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has offered a withering assessment of Scott Morrison’s decision to float the idea of moving the Australian embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
Mr Morrison proposed the idea of moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem during the October 2018 Wentworth by-election campaign.
It followed US President Donald Trump’s announcement that the US’s embassy in Israel would move to to Jerusalem, effectively recognising the historically disputed Middle Eastern city as Israel’s capital.
However, Mr Turnbull told a charity event on Sunday this was “a really dumb thing” that showed a “a patronising insensitivity” and a “complete misunderstanding” of the Australian Jewish community, according to the Jewish News.
“Whatever your views on the merits of that, I thought the timing was just calculated to win support … It showed a patronising insensitivity to the Jewish community,” he said.
“We all do dumb things in our lives, so do governments and politicians.
“Personally, I think the government’s position on that, to leave the embassy where it was, and not change the position, was the right one.”
Mr Turnbull also said the Liberal coup plotters who worked to install Peter Dutton as prime minister last August “essentially operate as terrorists”.
“I’m not suggesting that they kill, but I’m being deadly serious here … What that group has done in the Liberal Party – and it’s one of the fundamental problems the Liberal Party has – is over quite a long period of time, they have regularly threatened to, and in fact, have been prepared to blow the government up,” he said.
“What [Minister for Finance Mathias] Cormann did was essentially damage the government so much, the prospects of recovering went from being quite a bit better than even money to being very, very challenging indeed.
“The week went on and having so much treachery, so much destructiveness, the good thing was that I was able to ensure that Morrison was my successor and not Peter Dutton.
“It’s a tough business,” he said prompting interviewer John Mangos to respond “Yes I know, I’ve reported on it. I’ve seen the blood on the walls.
“It’s one thing to see the blood on the walls, it’s another thing when it’s your own blood,” Mr Turnbull said.