08 September 2020

Labor is relieved by the safe return of Australian journalists Bill Birtles and Michael Smith from China.

The safety of Australian citizens in China is fundamental to our bilateral relationship.

Freedom of the press is a core Australian value.

Journalists should be able to do their work safely without the risk of intimidation or arbitrary detention.

The Chinese Embassy’s Deputy Head of Mission recently spoke to journalists at the National Press Club in Canberra about mutual respect.

The media plays a vital role in fostering this respect by deepening understanding, which is vital for a productive relationship.

It is deeply regrettable that there is now no Australian media presence in China.

We hope that Australian media organisations will be able to have their people on the ground in China again soon.

Labor expects China to observe the bilateral consular agreement, which has strong bipartisan support.

We thank Ambassador Graham Fletcher, Shanghai Consul-General Dominic Trindade, and their staff for their crucial consular support.


Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.