Federal Member for Kingsford Smith and Labor politician, Matt Thistlewaite visited his alumni university on 13th April to discuss the current state of Australian politics.
About a hundred University of New South Wales (UNSW) journalism students participated in media conference asking Matt Thistlethwaite a range of questions about the economy, asylum seekers, education and local issues.
The hour-long conference began with Matt Thistlethwaite condemning the Liberal Government’s cuts to funding for tertiary education and criticised the proposal to deregulate universities. The Labor politician also cited the important connection between Australia’s future economic development and a strong education system. In commenting further on the Liberal Party’s budget cuts, Mr. Thistlethwaite promised that a Labor Shorten government would not deregulate universities and ensure that adequate funding is maintained for the tertiary education sector.
Asked whether the Abbott cuts to foreign aid in 2014 have affected Australia’s international reputation, Mr. Thistlethwaite highlighted that many countries around the world, as well as the Asia-Pacific, have been let down by the Australian government’s decisions. Mr. Thistlethwaite who is also the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs did not indicate whether a Shorten Labor government would reinstate all the funding that was removed by the Liberal Party.
Speaking about the Labor Party’s position on asylum seekers and offshore processing, Mr. Thistlethwaite explained the reasons why it was necessary to support tough border controls and accused the Liberal government of ‘dropping the ball’ in the processing of asylum seekers. Expressing the need for humane conditions on Manus Island and Nauru, Mr. Thistlethwaite highlighted that stopping asylum seeker ‘boat deaths’ between Indonesia and Australia was an important issue. Pointing to the failed Labor Gillard ‘Malaysian solution’, Mr. Thistlethwaite claimed that the Liberal Party had only delayed the processing of asylum seekers since the last election.
— Roydon Ng (@RoydonNgUNSW) April 13, 2016
Roydon Ng is a freelance journalist, blogger and web designer based from Sydney, Australia.