When Scott Morrison first raised the prospect of recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in the closing days of the Wentworth by-election campaign, the backlash was immediate.
Former Liberal Party leader John Hewson derided what he described as a “misguided stunt”. Even the normally sympathetic Paul Kelly, editor-at-large for The Australian, blamed the “unwise, unjustified and dangerous” announcement on “appalling process and misconceived policy”. Kelly concluded “there must be a prospect he will retreat when the reviews are completed and cooler heads prevail”. There were many who shared his hope. After all, if the proposal was merely a shabby gambit, then surely it would be dropped following the by-election.
Instead, the Government commissioned a review, which apart from consulting the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Defence Department, ASIO and the Office of National Assessments, included input from a hand-picked group of “wise elders”.