House debates

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Questions without Notice

Australian Embassy: Israel

2:07 pm

Photo of Bill ShortenBill Shorten (Maribyrnong, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. Is the Prime Minister concerned about an ASIO bulletin circulated on 15 October regarding the proposal to move Australia's embassy to Jerusalem, which the Prime Minister announced on 16 October, that was marked 'secret, Australian eyes only'? Is he concerned about it being leaked from within the government, and why did the Prime Minister fail to initiate a full cabinet process to fully consider the serious implications of his proposal?

Photo of Scott MorrisonScott Morrison (Cook, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

I'm advised by the Director-General of Security and the head of ASIO, Duncan Lewis, that, at this time, there is no evidence of planned violence in response to the government's announcement. There's no evidence of that. ASIO, as a matter of routine, provides this advice to Commonwealth and state governments on security matters, as it should. The director-general has advised me that he has spoken with the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police and will formally refer this matter to the AFP for investigation. The government, of course, does not comment on the contents of security advice and intelligence matters. I want to repeat and reassure Australians that ASIO has no evidence at this time of any planned violence in response to the government's announcement on 16 October, and the matter was fully discussed by cabinet.