Australia should “leave the showboating to Scott Morrison” when it comes to visits to Israel, former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull says.
Calls are growing for Anthony Albanese to visit Israel, including by former ambassador and Liberal MP Dave Sharma.
But Mr Turnbull said Mr Albanese going on a “solidarity visit” right now would achieve little.
“What’s Australia going to do other than, you know, provide sympathy and solidarity?” Mr Turnbull told ABC Radio.
“No, Albanese has got to keep his eye on the ball, which is being prime minister of Australia and advancing the interests of Australian people that put him into office. That would be my advice to him.
“Leave the showboating for ScoMo and Boris.”
Mr Turnbull said he was “sure” Mr Morrison’s visit was appreciated but needed to be taken in context.
“You’ve got to remember they’re two guys that are out of office. They’ve got plenty of time,” he said.
“Albanese has a full-time job as prime minister of Australia.”
Mr Morrison became the first Australian politician to visit Israel since Hamas mounted its attack on the Jewish state on October 7, joining former British prime minister Boris Johnson.
“I am thankful for the opportunity to join former prime minister Johnson to come to Israel as a demonstration of solidarity with the people and state of Israel and the Jewish community throughout the world,” Mr Morrison said on Sunday.
“It is an opportunity to understand first hand what is occurring on the ground, honour those who have been lost, show support to those who have suffered and are now engaged in this terrible conflict and discuss how to move forward.”
Mr Morrison signed a joint letter last week with Mr Turnbull and four other former prime ministers, unequivocally condemning the actions of Hamas and the growing anti-Semitism in Australia.
Mr Morrison’s visit came as pressure mounts on Israel to call for a ceasefire, as the death toll in Gaza surpasses 10,000 people.
Mr Albanese last week reiterated that he had no plans to visit Israel and ramped up his insistence that Israel follows the rules of law.
The Albanese government has repeatedly said it supports Israel’s right to defend itself but has called for a humanitarian pause in Gaza to allow for much-needed aid to reach Palestinian civilians.
The government’s calls have not been enough for the Greens, however, who have copped significant backlash for their “political stunt” in the Senate on Monday.
Led by Greens deputy leader Mehreen Faruqi draped in a keffiyeh, the senator said the Coalition was “morally bankrupt” when it came to Palestine, “and Labor has shown itself to be heartless, gutless, powerless”.
“You are watching the massacre of thousands of Palestinians by Israel and you are not condemning Israel,” she yelled.
“You are not condemning Israel. You refuse to call for an immediate ceasefire. We are not going to sit here and watch you pat yourselves on the back for doing nothing.”
She walked out after crying “free Palestine” and her colleagues followed.
The government and the Coalition both criticised the Greens in the aftermath.
Government Services Minister Bill Shorten said it was “political grandstanding” that didn’t help.
“I think that these guys are opportunists, and I don’t think it’s worth me spending much more oxygen on them,” he told ABC News.
The Coalition’s foreign affairs spokesman Simon Birmingham said the Greens’ “stunt” reiterated the minor party “have no credibility in this space”.
“Their pathetic actions just seek to weaken Australia and to undermine our position,” he told ABC Radio.
“Of course, the humanitarian concerns are real.”