Prime Minister Tony Abbott has urged parliament to endorse the free trade deal with China, warning it can’t be renegotiated.
“It’s a deal that we either take or leave … and would be absolutely unconscionable for us not to take the deal as negotiated,” he told parliament on Tuesday.
Mr Abbott wants the House of Representatives to back a motion that supports the agreement in its negotiated form.
Mr Abbott dared Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to tell parliament why he was opposing the deal otherwise the public would get the strong impression he was backing a unions campaign.
“It is a campaign of lies. Xenophobic at best, racist at worst, a campaign of lies being pedalled principally by the CFMEU, taken up by the ACTU more generally and being connived by members opposite,” he said.
“Just for once, tell us where you stand.
“Just for once, stop playing politics.”
Mr Shorten said he supported the deal but wanted to work with the government to protect Australian jobs and wages.
He dismissed Mr Abbott’s motion as a hollow stunt from the “ultimate hollow man”.
“(It’s) a national-time-wasting resolution from the champions of national time wasting,” Mr Shorten said.
He accused the Prime Minister of pre-empting the deliberations of a parliamentary committee still looking at the deal and not due to hand down its report until mid-October.