It’s time for Bill Shorten to decide between the growth, jobs and prosperity that will flow from our historic trade deal with China and the disgraced CFMEU.

We now have an avalanche of current and former Labor leaders backing the China Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) unequivocally.

They have demonstrated strength and leadership in rejecting the dishonest and racially charged scare campaign being mounted by the CFMEU.

Mr Robb said Bill Shorten is the only person now standing in the way.

“This presents a crucial test of Bill Shorten’s leadership along with his economic bona fides. He needs to stop being led around by the nose by the CFMEU and take a stand for jobs, growth and prosperity in this critical post-mining boom period,” Mr Robb said.

Today Labor’s Chief Minister in the ACT Andrew Barr and NSW State Opposition Leader Luke Foley added their voices to the loud chorus of support.

This follows significant interventions by Labor state premiers Daniel Andrews and Jay Weatherill who both know the FTA will be good for their states, good for jobs and good for investment.

Respected Labor figures including Bob Hawke, Simon Crean, Bob Carr and John Brumby are also calling for common sense to prevail and for Federal Labor to support the agreement.

Also today, Simon Crean described the FTA as a “quality agreement … a comprehensive agreement” that will produce jobs “because trade and opening trade is a multiplier of economic growth”.

“The truth is we cannot delay this. It needs to be done this year because there are important gains to be obtained this year,” Mr Crean said.

The former Labor leader also dismissed the false claims that the FTA will erode labour market testing or employment standards.

“… this agreement does not do that. So let’s get a factual base about this and let’s get on with the real issue and that’s the job opportunities because we diminish our opportunities for jobs going forward if we do not sign this agreement,” he said.

This comes on top of the overwhelming backing of Australian business and industry, including our farmers, who will be major beneficiaries.

Mr Robb said Bill Shorten is looking increasingly alienated with the militant union bosses the only ones in his corner.

“Make no mistake, if Labor seeks to obstruct this deal, China will walk away and pursue other opportunities with our competitors in places like South America. This would be a dreadful outcome for our economy and Bill Shorten would be solely responsible,” Mr Robb said.

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