He was criticized for showing the speech to Chinese officials in advance and taking a soft stance on China in the speech.
“I gave a speech in China where I was critical of China and I wanted to make sure the Chinese government was not at all surprised at what I was going to say,” Marles said on Saturday.
“The [were] no surprises and no changes to a speech I gave in China that was critical of China in public,” he told reporters at a press conference in Slacks Creek, Queensland.
He said his speech condemned the Chinese government’s actions in Hong Kong and human rights abuses against the Uyghur minority.
“Which government minister did this?” he said.
“What we see here is the government desperately trying to distract from its failures,” Mr Marles said, referring to how the Morrison government handled the Solomon Islands security pact. and China.
Simon Birmingham confronts Australia Post vote dumping report
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham has sent a report that an Australia Post worker has been removed from his post following an allegation that he filed hundreds of Liberal-Nationals postal ballot applications at Blair’s headquarters.
“It is of deep concern to us that there may be this type of behind-the-scenes antics that make it more difficult to get our message out to voters, to communicate with them,” Mr Birmingham said.
“It’s a matter for Australia Post to determine precisely how they respond, but more importantly Australia Post needs to ensure that postal workers across Australia deliver Labor Party mail, Green Party mail, Party mail liberal and anyone else who paid to send something in the post.”
John Howard set to join election campaign
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced Saturday that former Prime Minister John Howard will attend Liberal Party campaign events.
Mr. Howard enters the campaign as the federal government deals with the
between the Solomon Islands and China, with Labor accusing the government of neglecting Australia’s relationship with the Pacific nation.
“You can’t hold John Howard back. He loves jumping on the campaign trail,” Mr Frydenberg told Channel Nine’s Today Show.
“He’s very effective when he does. As you know, the Australian people have a great affinity for him as Australia’s second longest-serving Prime Minister.
“Scott Morrison and I speak regularly to John Howard. He’s a source of sage advice. And he’s a great liberal and a great Australian.”
Asked about long-term solutions to the rising cost of living, Frydenberg pointed to a lower unemployment rate and $40 billion in tax relief over the past three years.
Mr Frydenberg admitted there were still “real challenges” for Australian families.
Liberal candidate Katherine Deves dodges the media in Forestville RSL
Liberal candidate Katherine Deves has frustrated reporters after refusing to appear before the media at an event at the Forestville RSL.
The media were advised that Ms Deves would not enter the RSL room if the media were present.
Ms Deves agreed to allow the media to take pictures outside the RSL and give a quick statement.
“I fought for women and children, and now I fight for Warringah,” she said.
“Thank you all for coming out tonight. I look forward to campaigning over the next four weeks on the issues affecting the people of Warringah.
Ms Deves was then escorted directly inside by Councilor James Flynn.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, deputy editor of The Australian, Brad Norington, who was outside the RSL, expressed his frustration.
“Is it an open democracy?
“Is she a candidate or not? It’s a joke,’ Mr Norington said.
Ms Deves has caused an internal row within the Liberal Party over comments she made against trans athletes.
Labor pledges more funding for community language schools
The Labor Party has announced a plan to help Australian children learn a second language by increasing funding for community language schools by an additional $30,000 over three years.
The funding would go to the 780 community language schools across the country, which teach about 105,000 students each year in more than 90 languages.
The party says a total funding commitment of $15 million will allow community language schools to expand their programs to reach more school-aged children.
“At present, Community Language Schools mainly teach school-aged children,” a Labor Party statement said.
“But the younger a person starts learning another language, the easier it is to learn it. That’s why we’ve ensured that this funding can help more community language schools open their classrooms to preschoolers.
“Community language schools have operated in Australia for over 150 years and have made a significant contribution to our success as a multicultural nation.”
Labor said the funds could be used to improve online delivery, create a new school or expand programs to preschoolers.
Labor education spokesperson Tanya Plibersek is expected to present the policy announcement at the Federation of NSW Neighborhood Language Colleges annual convention on Saturday.
Anthony Albanese spends second day in isolation with COVID 19
Anthony Albanese is confident he will be up and running when he emerges from lockdown next week, just in time for the Labor Party’s campaign launch.
The opposition campaign has been dealt a major blow after Mr Albanese tested positive for COVID-19, with Labor frontbenchers like Jason Clare stepping in in the coming days.
Labor is due to campaign in New South Wales on Saturday during the second day of the Leader of the Opposition’s self-isolation period.
Mr Albanese said the timing of the positive test was unfortunate, but he wanted to resume campaigning as soon as possible.
“We were building momentum, but I’ll be back for the second half,” he said.
“It’s a long campaign, and if I were to catch COVID, it’s better to have it now than in the last three weeks of the campaign.”
Mr Albanese will spend time in self-isolation at his home in Sydney, ahead of the Labor Party’s campaign launch in Perth on May 1.
Scott Morrison targets marginal seats on NSW’s central coast
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison will spend the 13th day of the election campaign in marginal seats on the central coast of New South Wales.
Mr Morrison spent much of Friday with China.
The Prime Minister reiterated that Australia would not “push in” and tell other countries what to do.
“These are not simple problems. I mean, if it was as simple as picking up the phone or sending in a foreign minister, then these problems wouldn’t happen (but) it’s not so easy,” he said.
However, Mr Albanese said he would seek to strengthen relations with neighboring Pacific countries, should Labor win the election.
AEC finalizes ballot draw
Australia’s Electoral Commission has finalized the draw for the 151 lower house seats and eight Senate races ahead of the May 21 ballot.
However, the commission referred former Western Australian senator Rod Culleton to the federal police for potentially making a false statement on his nomination form.
Mr Culleton, who intends to represent the Great Australia Party, said in his nomination that he was not an undischarged or insolvent bankrupt.
The commission said it noted Mr Culleton was on the National Personal Insolvency Index list of undischarged bankrupts.