News National Labor announce support for China-Australia FTA

Labor announce support for China-Australia FTA

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The Federal Labor caucus has agreed to support the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

The opposition had voiced their concerns about the agreement in the past, particularly the belief that Chinese workers would take local jobs.

Labor leader Bill Shorten, in particular, spoke out against the agreement when it was struck between former Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

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The ALP put forward several amendments to the supporting legislation, which the government had been considering.

And on Wednesday, Mr Shorten confirmed the two parties had now settled on a compromise, which Labor believes will provide protections for Australian workers.

“Labor has stood up and expressed our concerns that there was insufficient legal safeguards and protections for Australian jobs,” Mr Shorten said.

Penny Wong
Shadow Trade Minister Penny Wong says Labor got through most of what they wanted. Photo: AAP

“Labor now has achieved what we believe to be satisfactory legal protections, which weren’t previously proposed.

“Labor can now support the speedy passage of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.”

Shadow Trade Minster Penny Wong said a labour market testing requirement was crucial to the deal being struck.

“We wanted to protect Australian wages and conditions and we wanted to uphold workplace skills and standards,” Ms Wong said.

“And the package that we have agreed, with the government, delivers legal safeguards in these free areas.”

Responding to Labor’s support, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull lauded the significance of the deal.

“This is going to be a very big step for Australia,” Mr Turnbull said.

“We have 23 million extraordinary Australians and their imagination and their enterprise will ensure that we have access to and benefit from this market in a way that even the architects of this agreement, principally the Trade Minister Andrew Robb, would not imagine.

“I’m pleased that we have been able to provide some assurances to the Labor Party.”

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