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Bill Shorten Uses Chinese Social Media To Counter 'Asians With PhDs' Fallout

Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has used Chinese social media platform WeChat to limit the damage from comments made by former NSW Labor Leader Michael Daley.

Shorten said he received "a lot" of questions about Michael Daley's comments about "Asians with PhDs" coming to Australia to take the jobs of young people.

The comments have been linked to the swing against Labor in last weekend's NSW state election. Daley has since stepped down as leader of the party.

It's clear Bill Shorten wants to avoid a swing against his party when the federal election rolls around, so he appealed directly to Chinese communities by going straight to the source.

READ MORE: NSW Election: Michael Daley Claims 'Foreigners' Are Taking Aussie Jobs

The 30-minute 'live' session was conducted by Shorten on Wednesday afternoon and was watched by about 500 people, according to the ABC. Shorten said he wanted to tell his audience more about "why you should vote Labor in six weeks time".

Bill Shorten WeChat
Bill Shorten hosted a live WeChat video. Image: Twitter/Stephen Hutcheon.

"I just want to make clear, as the leader of the federal Labor Party, I don't agree with what he [Daley] said and the comments should not have been made," Shorten said during the live WeChat session.

Shorten was joined by Jennifer Yang, Labor's candidate for the seat of Chisholm in Melbourne's east.

READ MORE: Julia Banks Blows Open The Liberals’ “Woman Problem” In Exclusive Sunday Project Interview

Shorten also said he doesn't see the rise of China as a global political power as a threat to Australia.

"I see China as a strategic opportunity for Australia and I want to see greater mutual understanding between all of us," he said.

Michael Daley
A video of Michael Daley claims migrants are taking Australian jobs emerged just before the NSW State election. Image:Youtube.

Part of this mutual understanding is reducing racism. Shorten attacked his opponents, including One Nation and other right-wing parties, for perpetuating racism in Australia. He also urged Prime Minister Scott Morrison to follow Labor's example and preference One Nation last in the upcoming election.

Scott Morrison has not ruled out a deal with One Nation, even after explosive videos of party heavy-weights emerged exposing discussions with America's National Rifle Association (NRA).

READ MORE: One Nation Blames Scotch, 'James Bond' Tactics For NRA Gun Scandal

Shorten claimed Morrison has watered down the Racial Discrimination Act so more hate speech is tolerated in Australia, and that the high English language proficiency standard set by the government stops people migrating to Australia.

Shorten concluded the live session by saying "xiexie" -- 'thank you' in Mandarin.

Contact Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au.