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Wednesday, 14 November 2018
Page: 8134


Senator PRATT (Western Australia) (15:13): Today's question time reinforced, just as yesterday's did, that we have a reckless, big-talking Prime Minister who is full of big promises and short on attention to detail, delivery and any sense of the national interest. His desperate decision to try to win votes in Wentworth is costing us jobs and is at great expense to our relationships not only with Indonesia but with many other parts of the world.

We have seen Mr Morrison, our Prime Minister, junk a longstanding bipartisan foreign policy, and it is a key foreign policy that is important to the success of the Australia-Indonesia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. We saw Senator Cormann arguing that the i's and the t's are just being dotted and crossed, and that's the reason for the delay. But Indonesia's own trade minister says the delay in signing the agreement is because of Palestine. You may say that it's about dotting the i's and crossing the t's, but the simple fact is that it is delayed because the question of moving the embassy to Jerusalem has not been resolved and ruled out.

Senator Hume says that this is in fact about Mr Morrison debating and refining the finer points of the agreement. Frankly, I think that is bollocks. We know that the delay is about getting this issue of this nonsense idea of moving Australia's embassy to Jerusalem off the table. We've seen this entrench further division and chaos in the coalition. We saw Senator Abetz, who is in fact the government's chair of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee, suggesting that Australia rethink the $360 million we give them in aid each year. I'm assuming Senator Abetz is a great fan of moving the embassy to Jerusalem. The idea that a view like that could be reflected in the media or in this place shows the disregard with which members of this place are prepared to treat the important views of Indonesia.

Mr Morrison said last September that the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement would be signed within months. The media had been briefed that it would be signed this week on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Singapore. Again Senator Cormann and Senator Hume might say, 'No, this is actually all about Prime Minister Morrison getting the job done, making sure we get all the finer details of it correct.' Well, it certainly sounds to me like it was all ready to be done, all ready to be signed, but for this absolute catastrophe of international policy, this brain fart of an idea that we think it would be a good idea to move Australia's embassy to Jerusalem.

The Australian people are right to be concerned about this and to demand that Mr Morrison gets this done and signs the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement before he comes back to Australia. How could he facilitate that? Perhaps by making a quick decision to say, 'Yes, we'll take our bollocks idea about moving Australia's embassy to Jerusalem off the table', and to do so immediately.