Malcolm Turnbull urges Albanese to ignore Morrison’s Israel ‘showboating’

Malcolm Turnbull says Anthony Albanese should “leave the showboating” to fellow former PM Scott Morrison and resist calls to visit Israel.

Turnbull described former UK prime minister Boris Johnson and Morrison as “two guys with plenty of time” in an interview with ABC’s Radio National on Tuesday morning when asked about the former leaders’ much publicised visit to the Middle East.

Morrison and Johnson travelled to Israel together this week, visiting sites attacked by Hamas on October 7 and offering support to the country’s leaders and citizens during the conflict with Hamas.

The pair held talks with Israel President Isaac Herzog.

Dave Sharma, the former Liberal member for Wentworth and a former Australian ambassador to Israel, has said Albanese should also make the trip to Israel.

Turnbull said Albanese needed to “concentrate on being prime minister of Australia and advancing the interests of the Australian people that put him into office”.

“Dave [Sharma is] a good bloke, he was a good ambassador in Israel … but he’s running for a Liberal Party preselection,” the former Liberal PM said.

“Albanese going on, what is it, a sympathy visit, a solidarity visit to Israel? What’s Australia going to do other than … provide sympathy and solidarity?

“Leave the showboating to Scomo and [Johnson]”

Turnbull said that while a visit from Morrison and Johnson was sure to be appreciated by the Israeli government, “you’ve got to remember they’re two guys that are out of office”.

“They’ve got plenty of time. I’m not saying they’re unemployed, but they’ve got plenty of time,” he said.

“The scarcest resource in the Commonwealth is the prime minister’s time. Every prime minister has got to allocate their time in the manner that best delivers for the people of Australia. Every trip, every excursion has got to be weighed up.”

Morrison was a strong supporter of Israel when he led Australia and recognised West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2018. That position as reversed when the Albanese government took office.

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