Labor caught out in fake news scandal

May 24, 2018

As Labor party conference delegates prepare to vote soon on whether to weaken border protection policies, the office of opposition leader Bill Shorten has been sprung confecting fake news.

The Australian Conservatives want to further strengthen our tough border protection policies but Labor wants them watered down.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports Labor Leader Bill Shorten's office distributed a heavily edited transcript of a television interview by Labor MP Linda Burney on asylum seekers, removing her calls for a "time limit" on the offshore detention of refugees.

The incident comes at an especially difficult time for Labor on the topic of asylum seekers, with numerous party conferences set to debate softening Labor's position on offshore detention.

Refugees on Manus Island and Nauru have been there for five years and Sky News host David Speers asked Ms Burney on Wednesday whether there should be a time limit to take refugees off the islands.

Ms Burney said Labor's policy would be decided in coming months, but added: "I think that we are saying most clearly that there shouldn't be indefinite detention. There needs to be a time frame and I'm sure there are people who are working towards that. I think there needs to be a time limit."

The transcript, distributed by Bill Shorten’s office on Wednesday evening, was inaccurate and truncated in many parts, including the exchange on asylum seekers.

In the official transcript, Ms Burney was quoted as saying: "I’m not responsible for the area, but I do believe that they shouldn’t be held indefinitely, and logically that means there’d be a time line."

Her statements about needing a "time frame" and "time limit" on offshore detention were not included.

Sky News replayed parts of the interview Thursday morning and it is available on the station's web site.

Speers, the Walkley Award-winning political editor of Sky News,  told Fairfax Media: "The tape speaks for itself."

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton this week said Labor's policy was "unravelling" and claimed if Mr Shorten were elected as PM "it will mean the boats restart".

To see the Sky News story on Labor’s fake news scandal, click here.

To read Michael Koziol's full article, click here.

To read our tough border protection policies, click here.

To join the Australian Conservatives, click here.

Below is the full transcript of Linda Burney's interview. The edited transcript from Bill Shorten's office omitted or abbreviated all the yellow highlighted sections:


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