A further development in Australian domestic politics with the potential to impact Australian-Palestinian relations was the internal leadership reshuffle led by Malcolm Turnbull, the former Minister for Communications and a leading member of the Liberal Party. Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott was ousted on the 25th of September 2015. After an internal leadership ballot within the Liberal Party, Turnbull became Prime Minister and formed a new cabinet. The previous leadership had been performing poorly both politically and economically based on various public opinion polls, and the publics lack of support for the Liberal Party under Abbott’s leadership placed them in an impossible position to win the next election. Malcolm Turnbull, in assembling his new cabinet, relegated a number of traditional leading figures within the Liberal Party who had previously held portfolios.
The General Delegation of Palestine does not expect any substantial policy change regarding the Australian government’s strong support of Israel. Although it is premature to reach final conclusions on the position of the Australian government towards the Israel-Palestine conflict. The coming period may herald broader support of Israeli policies in light of the appointment of Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister. Turnbull’s electorate has the largest Jewish population in Sydney, and thus may see him susceptible to pressure from Jewish lobby groups. In addition, Ms. Julie Bishop has been retained as Minister for Foreign Affairs, and her known position as a strong supporter of Israel does not make the GDOP optimistic of any substantial change towards an evenhanded policy relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, Ms. Bishop has previously affirmed her support for a two-state solution and the establishment of a Palestinian state. Despite this, the approach of Mr. Turnbull in dealing with regional and global issues seems different and more liberal of his predecessor, Tony Abbott.