Bill Shorten Reacts to Tony Abbott's "Embarrassing" Speech in Davos

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By Reissa Su | January 24, 2014 6:49 PM EST

Australian Labour Party and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten described Prime Minister Tony Abbott's speech in the World Economic Forum as "embarrassing." Mr Abbott had criticised Labour's stimulus package during the global financial crisis in front of the summit participants in Davos, Switzerland. He accused the Labour government of spending money to attract progress.

REUTERS
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott addresses during the Commonwealth Government Meeting (CHOGM) opening ceremony in Colombo November 15, 2013.

Mr Abbott remarked that governments can become "addicts in search of a fix." He declared Australia is now under new management and is ready for business.

Bill Shorten slammed the prime minister's speech for showing no vision for the future of Australia. Mr Shorten told reporters in Melbourne that Mr Abbott's speech only demonstrates his mind is still working like an Opposition Leader.

Mr Shorten condemned the speech and said Mr Abbott had the chance to feature Australia at the world forum but he chose to promote domestic politics instead.

The prime minister declared that all governments should embrace free trade and do away with protectionist policies. At the World Economic Forum which Mr Abbott dubbed as the "Woodstock for intellectuals", he mentioned Australia's position in the G20 and said it's time to welcome free markets.

Mr Abbott believes trade within nations can increase wealth. Therefore, trade between nations also leads to greater wealth. He encouraged governments to be missionaries of free trade.

Mr Abbott had a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with whom he discussed free trade, and Dutch Prime Minister Marke Rutte, with whom he talked about the Afghanistan mission. He is scheduled to meet Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In November, Australia will host the G20 summit in Brisbane. Mr Abbott spent most of his time in Davos talking with business leaders in Australia.

Asylum seekers accused of breaking the law

Meanwhile, Tony Abbott has tried to downplay and discredit asylum seekers who claimed they were abused by the Royal Australian Navy. Mr Abbott said the asylum seekers were trying to break Australian laws.

ABC has obtained footage showing asylum seekers treated for burns on their hands. The group's vessel was forced back by the Navy on Jan 6. They accused the Australian Navy of kicking them and burning their hands while the soldiers forced them to touch the boat's engine. 

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(Photo: REUTERS / )
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott addresses during the Commonwealth Government Meeting (CHOGM) opening ceremony in Colombo November 15, 2013.
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