Embassy 'Move' Not About Wentworth: Sharma
The Liberal candidate for Wentworth insists it's a coincidence the government is considering moving the Australian embassy in Israel to Jerusalem as he campaigns in the crucial seat with thousands of Jewish voters.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday confirmed Canberra was considering the major foreign policy shift with Labor immediately accusing the government of using the issue to try and win over voters.
"He is just posturing ahead of a by-election that he is desperate to win in order to hold on to a slim majority," opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong told reporters.
"This is a bloke who is prepared to do and say anything to hold on to his parliamentary majority."
Morrison credited Liberal candidate Dave Sharma - a former ambassador to Israel - with putting the embassy issue on the table.
"When people say sensible things I think it is important to listen to them, particularly when they have the experience of someone like Dave Sharma," Morrison told reporters in Canberra.
But Sharma was quick to distance himself from the government's proposal telling reporters it had nothing to do with Saturday's Wentworth by-election.
"This announcement has to do with the timing of the UN resolution on which we need to take a position and articulate our views," Sharma told reporters in Sydney.
"I don't think any voters are single-issue voters in Wentworth."
Sharma confirmed he had spoken to the prime minister on several occasions regarding the possibility of moving the embassy to Jerusalem.
The 43-year-old has conceded winning Saturday's by-election will be a tough task despite former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull winning the seat with a 17 percent margin at the last election.
Mr Sharma on Monday said he was "appalled" by the way Turnbull was treated by the Liberal Party who dumped him as leader in August.
Federal Labor leader BIll Shorten used Sharma's comments in question time on Tuesday to refocus voters' minds on why the by-election was called.
"Does the prime minister agree the way he and his government treated Malcolm Turnbull was appalling and when will the prime minister tell the voters in Wentworth why isn't Malcolm Turnbull still the prime minister of Australia?"