Feb 17, 2017

Partial transcript of joint press conference – Haymarket, Sydney

Subjects: Liberal WA preference deal with One Nation, importance of multicultural Australia

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks very much Luke and it’s great to join you and your New South Wales team to reinforce the message that this is a national position of the Australian Labor Party. Bill Shorten, and Federal Labor, have affirmed that we also will never engage in preference deals with One Nation.
Now this used to be, under John Howard, a principle that was adopted across the mainstream parties.

This week in the national parliament, Malcolm Turnbull was asked each and every day to join with Labor in saying that we will not give comfort to a political party that seeks to divide our harmonious community and that does not serve Australia’s national economic interest.

Luke has outlined very clearly the success that we have here in great cities like Sydney, which rely upon our multiculturalism, which rely upon the harmony that’s here in the community. People who’ve come from China and all over the world to make Australia their home have enriched the rest of us, because the strength of Australia is our multiculturalism; is respect for one another, and respect for diversity.

But in addition to that as a reason why we should not be entertaining deals with One Nation, is the national economic interest. I’m the Shadow Minister for Tourism in the national parliament. In the last year alone we’ve seen an increase in tourism from China of more than 20 per cent. We’ve seen similar increases from Japan, from Korea, from Vietnam, from India.

We need to engage in trade with our region. We have an enormous opportunity because of our location in the world next to what will be, very soon, the world’s largest economy; that economy being in the People’s Republic of China. We will rely upon tourism as one of the super growth sectors that has been identified.

And last time when Pauline Hanson was in power we saw those relations and the perception of Australia as a welcoming country, as a country where tourists or residents could receive the sort of welcome that characterises the Australian people undermined and that perception being very damaging to the way that Australia is seen in our region.

So that’s why for reasons of both our harmonious local communities, but also for reasons of our national economic interest, major political parties need to take a principled position and not give preferences which enhance the opportunity of One Nation being elected. They should be judged for the opportunism and the unprincipled action that it is for One Nation to receive Liberal Party preferences in the upcoming West Australian election.

But it’s very clear that that is a trial run for the Queensland election, for New South Wales, and for nationally. We need to as a community say no to One Nation. Say no to racism. Say no to bigotry. Each and every time we need to say it loud and clear. Federal Labor says it and State Labor under Luke Foley says it as well.