NOT FAIR ENOUGH: Union and community members rally yesterday on the steps of the Victorian Parliament in Melbourne to demand changes to the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.
NOT FAIR ENOUGH: Union and community members rally yesterday on the steps of the Victorian Parliament in Melbourne to demand changes to the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement. MAL Faircloughaap

Shorten tells Abbott to 'Get off his high horse' over FTA

THE fight over the Chinese free trade agreement has escalated, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott urging Bill Shorten not to do a major union's bidding.

Miners and farmers are at loggerheads with unions, particularly the CFMEU, over the trade deal, with union's funding of TV campaign advertisements feeding fears the deal will lead to Australians missing out on jobs.

The mining industry has begun a competing advertising campaign, and the National Farmers' Federation has endorsed the trade deal and criticised the union.

After former Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke yesterday endorsed the trade deal, Mr Abbott called on Mr Shorten to follow his lead, and "stop dancing to the tune of the CFMEU".

But Mr Shorten yesterday said Mr Abbott should "get off his high horse" and negotiate with the Opposition on the trade deal.

While several Labor frontbenchers have criticised the deal, Mr Shorten said the party was not "unconditionally opposed" to it, but wanted more conditions put in place.

The landmark deal was signed two months ago, after more than nine years of negotiations with China across the gamut of imports and exports.

Mr Shorten said he wanted the deal to succeed, but "not at the expense of Australian jobs", while Mr Abbott said everyone was satisfied.


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