Opposition leader Bill Shorten has hit out at Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull by calling him a Liberal “paid advocate” and a deserter of principles on marriage equality, the republic and climate change.
Shorten came down heavily on Turnbull’s fixation for an early election than prioritising policies and said it signalled “selling out his principles.” He further dubbed Turnbull as a “massive disappointment”, reports The Guardian. “When Mr Turnbull became prime minister, I knew my task would be harder,” Shorten said. “But I also hoped – like many Australians – he might elevate the politics of the day, he might take our national debate to a higher place. Instead, we have watched this prime minister shrink into the job, selling out his principles in exchange for power. The prime minister’s betrayals on climate change, marriage equality, the republic and safe Schools diminish him – and they diminish us all.”
Shorten’s speech at the National Press Club on Tuesday came ahead of Labor Party’s Jenny Macklin’s report on inequality, poverty, disadvantage and unemployment. In his address, the opposition leader invoked Ben Chifley’s call for full employment and said the Labor party will adopt it as a core policy to mitigate the current economic ills. Shorten focused on the “rough edges of economic change”, wherein industries, communities and families are struggling with flat wages, rising living costs and “harsh government cuts.” He said double-digit unemployment is a “devastating reality” among young Australians.
The opposition leader also made a “call to arms” implying that Australians need to acquire new skills and better training to win the jobs of the future. In the speech, Shorten declared that the next election will be a referendum on policy and leadership. He reiterated that Turnbull’s government is long on waffle while the country is battling with unprecedented under-employment and economic inequality, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
Shorten added that the old idea of “full employment” is fully relevant today and must become the fulcrum of all economic planning. It contrasts with Turnbull’s agility plank and the concept of “change is our friend.” He said such terms have no relevance among the displaced workers in Australia’s struggling regions. Shorten’s hard-hitting speech came amidst the government’s preoccupation with tax reforms for delivering tax cuts.