Doorstop – Jerusalem, Israel

31 Oct 2017
Jerusalem, Israel
Prime Minister
Defence industry MOU, Battle of Beersheba, Iran, Malka Leifer, domestic political arrangements


We have had a very warm meeting, a very good constructive discussion. Bibi and I get on very well. And Bibi and Sara and Lucy and I get on very well too.

It’s a very good relationship both at a governmental level, at a personal level, shared values.

And so much more to do together - we’ve that with the defence industry MOU and obviously the work that Dan Tehan is undertaking here on cyber security which is going to be an even bigger agenda in the years ahead.

And of course, tomorrow, we will see the re-enactment of the charge of the Australian Light Horse at Beersheba.

An extraordinary moment in history and it will be just so wonderful.

We’ll all be so proud to be there.

Some questions?


Prime Minister you have spoken about the synergies, about the shared values but there is one issue which you don’t see eye to eye and that is Iran and the push by the Israelis to end the nuclear deal. Did you hear anything from Mr Netanyahu that changed your view or did you manage to influence him?


Look, we had actually had a very lengthy discussion about that.

We do have a, we have a different perspective on the agreement. We believe that - as do the other signatories to the agreement - we are not a signatory to the agreement of course but I'm talking about the P5+1 - the permanent five members of the UN Security Council plus Germany - there is a commitment to stick with it.

We absolutely understand Israel's very real concerns and anxiety about Iran moving to a nuclear weapons capability.

But we are not persuaded that moving away from the agreement - the JCPOA - would be beneficial in terms of, you know, preventing that type of proliferation.


Prime Minister, did you discuss the issue of the extradition of Malka Leifer? And if so, what was Mr Netanyahu’s response?


Yes, we did discuss it. I raised it with him and we discussed it in some detail and he has certainly taken all of that on board. But I can’t go into any more detail than that because really it is a matter for the Israeli authorities but I have absolutely raised it in quite a bit of depth.


Prime Minister, I guess you didn’t catch the morning newspaper here in Jerusalem? The headline is “Political crisis forces Turnbull to Shorten visit”. The Opposition Leader is of course just up the road here talking about the turmoil and chaos in Australian politics. Would you use those words to describe the situation at home with Julie Bishop as Acting Prime Minister?


Well, of course not. The business of government goes on and within a couple of hours of the Court’s decision the ministries of Barnaby Joyce and Fiona Nash were reallocated. Obviously, Matt Canavan came back as Resources and Northern Australia Minster. I took on Agriculture and Water and Fiona’s portfolios have been shared between Darren Chester and Mitch Fifield.

A writ was issued for the by-election. It is underway.

We have achieved so much over the last 18 months or so since the election and so much in the last two months, in fact, that you can see that government goes on. I know newspapers, I don’t want to criticise the media, but I know that stories of turmoil are more likely to attract a click than good government but the reality is government goes on. It is business as usual.


Do you ever feel you’ve had enough? You’d just like to – it’s all been too much? You’ve just had enough of the whole political scene?



I have never had more fun in my life.

Thank you very much.