Attacking and smearing an honourable Western Australian candidate
“Call your attack dogs off my candidate, stop the desperate smearing” — that’s the strong message from Labor leader Bill Shorten to the Liberals and Malcolm Turnbull.
The candidate is Anne Aly, contesting the seat of Cowan.
The Opposition leader was responding to journalists’ questions following WA Liberal frontbenchers’ attacks on Aly’s work on de-radicalisation.
“If President Obama and the Department of Homeland Security regard Anne Aly as a global expert on de-radicalisation, I think we can do a little better than Michael Keenan trying to imply the opposite,” Shorten said.
“I think it is a desperate smear; I’m not going to repeat the allegations — that is what the attack dogs of the Liberals want me to do.
“It’s not good enough for Mr Turnbull to say he doesn’t know what is going on.
“Anne Aly is an outstanding Australian.”
“He cannot wander around Australia disowning the Liberal Party — he is the Liberal Party leader; he needs to call his attack dogs off Anne Aly,” Shorten said.
He said he wanted to share with Australians the positives about Dr Aly.
“Because of her views on counter-radicalisation, she has been put on the kill lists of extremist groups.
“The truth of the matter is, Anne Aly is an outstanding Australian.
“A political motive to smear an up-and-coming Labor candidate.”
“I know the Liberal Party want to get votes by smearing Labor candidates — I think they should back off this one altogether.
“Malcolm Turnbull has got to make a stand about them smearing a great Australian like Anne Aly.”
It was hard to know if Michael Keenan is jealous of Dr Aly or if there is a political motive to smear an up-and-coming Labor candidate, Shorten said.
To emphasise his high regard for the Alexandria, Egyptian-born mother of two and professor at Edith Cowan University, the Labor leader said “you would be more likely to go to Anne Aly than Michael Keenan” for advice on how to de-radicalise at-risk youth.
“You don’t have to take my word for it,” he said. “President Obama invited Anne Aly to the White House.
“They didn’t invite Michael Keenan,” he said.
Malcolm Turnbull was again criticised for his failure of leadership within his own ranks — on this and other issues.
“Senator Bernardi has said Mr Turnbull is wrong.”
“Malcolm Turnbull cannot pretend he is a separate person to the Liberal Party,” Shorten said.
“This prime minister has serious questions about his credibility.
“There have been..serious matters in the last 24 hours which go to Mr Turnbull’s credibility.
“There is the Cory Bernardi scandal.
“Mr Turnbull said earlier this week on television he had a conversation with Cory Bernardi of a certain nature, and Senator Bernardi has…said Mr Turnbull is wrong.
“This prime minister has serious questions about his credibility.”
“Clearly one of these two gentlemen is lying.
“It is now up to the PM to come clean about who is telling the truth and who isn’t — they both can’t be right.
“This prime minister has serious questions about his credibility…he will say anything to get into office.
“Certainly being credible is not one of his requirements,” he said.
This article originally appeared in the Labor Herald.