Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed former PM Malcolm Turnbull will not represent Australia again after taking part in a controversial Bali oceans conference.
The former politician was sent to Indonesia for the Our Ocean Conference by Morrison this week to meet with President Joko Widodo — despite his decision to retire from Aussie politics months ago.
Many people, including One Nation leader Pauline Hanson and former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, criticised Morrison’s decision — particularly after he failed to campaign for defeated Liberal candidate Dave Sharma in the lead up to the crucial Wentworth by-election. Despite the backlash, Turnbull was still sent overseas.
While at the conference, Turnbull sparked controversy by sharing his own views on government policies that go completely against those of Morrison. The 64-year-old claimed moving Australia’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would be met with “very negative reactions” in Indonesia.
Clearly unhappy with Turnbull’s unplanned speech, Morrison slammed the former Liberal leader for his comments during an interview on 2GB with Alan Jones on Thursday morning.
When asked if his predecessor would be called upon again, the prime minister gave a very firm response of “no”.
“He was actually there to attend an oceans conference. The issues of trade and other things were not really part of the brief,” Morrison explained.”I’m always going to act with respect towards previous prime ministers, regardless of who they are.
“But I do think the exemplar of previous prime ministers, about how they go about thing post; on our side of politics is obviously John Howard and on the Labor party side is Julia Gillard.”
Following his announcement, Turnbull took to social media to apparently, set the record straight.
“A few facts. @ScottMorrisonMP asked me to discuss trade and the embassy issue in Bali and we had a call before I left to confirm his messages which I duly relayed to @jokowi,” he wrote on Twitter. “There was a detailed paper on the issue in my official brief as well.”
The controversy of the situation and the argument between the two quickly made headlines with media outlets across the country jumping on the story.
This didn’t impress Turnbull who hit out at a number of publications, in particular The Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald for their explanation of the situation.
“So my previous tweet – a simple statement of fact has been described in the media as ‘lashing out’ (the Oz) or as a ‘public rebuke’ (SMH),” he wrote.
“Neither characterisation is reasonable, but is objective reporting unadorned by sensationalism a thing of the past?”
So my previous tweet – a simple statement of fact has been described in the media as “lashing out” (the Oz) or as a “public rebuke” (SMH). Neither characterisation is reasonable, but is objective reporting unadorned by sensationalism a thing of the past?
— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) November 1, 2018
During the interview, Morrison said he was also aware that Turnbull had been liking tweets that belittle his government, but said it didn’t worry him.
“I just brush it off,” he said.
Turnbull is set to appear on a special episode of ABC’s Q&A program next Thursday, in what will be his first major media appearance since being ousted as PM earlier this year. During the live broadcast, he will answer questions from the Australian public.