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Possible Jerusalem embassy move: Why we can’t bow to ‘protest countermoves’ from Indonesia

Luke Grant
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Australia could be staring down the barrel of a diplomatic backlash, after Prime Minister Scott Morrison floated the idea of moving Australia’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Indonesia, a key regional trade partner, is reportedly thinking about putting the brakes on a free trade deal with Australia, which was set to be signed before the end of the year. The not-yet-finalised deal, which was 8 years in the making, was anticipated to be particularly advantageous for Australian farmers and education providers.  But Indonesia’s unequivocal support for the Palestinian state has seen them aggrieved by Morrison’s suggestion, potentially jeopardising the deal.

Liberal Senator Eric Abetz says Australia should stand strong and resist caving into the pressure coming out of Indonesia.

“I believe that Australia has a very well deserved reputation around the world for not being bullied into positions and for not accepting protest countermoves when we seek to do the right thing,” Abetz tells Luke Grant.

 “I am very hopeful that Australia will continue its line that we determine our foreign policy.It would be unfortunate if we were to change our course just because one country, such as Indonesia, sees that they don’t find it acceptable.”

“We are sovereign nations and I trust that this will be overcome very shortly.”

On the sentiment that it could be worthwhile recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Abetz agrees.

“I’m pleased with the PM’s announcement,” he says.

“Israel is a sovereign state. It has the right to determine where its capital is placed.”


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Luke Grant