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Protestors ambush PM's economic speech


Updated: Protesters have stormed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s first economic speech since the election, urging him to close offshore detention centres for asylum seekers.

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One woman managed to join Turnbull on stage as he addressed the CEDA luncheon in Melbourne.

“For f***’s sake, close the camps,” she yelled at the Prime Minister, who tried to continue his speech but was drowned out by other protesters.

“Shame on you, close Nauru,” the group yelled as security personnel tried to herd the protesters outside.

The group was forcibly ejected from the luncheon at Melbourne’s Grand Hyatt.

The protest took place about 10 minutes after Turnbull began his keynote speech.

In his address, the Prime Minister said the Coalition was ready to take up Labor’s offer of a more co-operative parliament but wanted the Opposition to back the Government savings it committed to support during the election.

“Labor must be prepared to bring an open mind and some fiscal rationality to any discussions, as well as a commitment to support spending reductions they have already said they will back,” he told the lunch.

“Australians will not stand for a repeat of the aftermath of the 2013 election, when Labor decided – incredibly – to oppose savings measures it had itself proposed.”

The Government is planning to introduce an omnibus bill bringing together policies Labor committed to supporting in the lead-up to the July 2 election.

Turnbull argued that it was a critical period for the parliament, painting a bleak picture of the global economy which he said was more fragile than at any other time since the 2007 global financial crisis.

But Labor leader Bill Shorten hit back, urging Turnbull to stop negotiating by megaphone.

“If he just expects Labor to dance to his tune and ignore our values and ignore our priorities, well, he has another thing coming,” Shorten said.

“He is acting like he knows best, he knows everything and the rest of us should be grateful for the fact that he is there and we should just do as he says.”

Shorten wants the Coalition to also look at negative gearing reforms and multinational tax avoidance, declaring Labor won’t give up on Medicare or support lifting the retirement age to 70.

Revenue and Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer believes Labor won’t have a shred of credibility if it opposes savings measures, which it relied upon in the election campaign.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said Labor’s approach would reflect what it took to the election, but it won’t be dictated to by the Government.

It was still waiting to see the omnibus bill or be told about its details.

“This is a stunt by Malcolm Turnbull to distract from his own internal problems,” Bowen said.

“If there was a legitimate attempt to act in the national interest to pass a bill you would think that Malcolm Turnbull might have picked up the phone.”


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