Belgium queries should come later: Shorten

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull shouldn’t be criticising Belgium’s domestic security so soon after the country’s deadly terror attacks, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says.


Mr Turnbull on Wednesday hit out at European border security, warning “if you can’t control your borders, you don’t know who’s coming or going”.

“Regrettably, they allowed things to slip and that weakness in European security is not unrelated to the problems they’ve been having in recent times,” he told ABC TV.

Mr Shorten lambasted the critique so soon after the suicide bombing attacks in Brussels, which have killed at least 34 people and injured more than 100.

“I think it’s premature (for) the prime minister to be telling the Belgians what they did wrong within 24 hours of what’s happened in Belgium,” Mr Shorten said in Gladstone on Wednesday.

“All of the matters to do with the adequacy of security are legitimate topics to examine.

“But I think within the 24 hours after these atrocities, from the distance of Australia and the safety of Australia, I’m not going to start handing out advice to the Belgians.”

Mr Shorten said it was more important in the meantime to recognise people had lost their lives and to offer support.

“This wanton act of criminality and terror, the taking of innocent life, stands condemned by the whole civilised world,” he said.

“I and Labor join with the government in offering our bipartisan support to the people of Belgium and the government of Belgium.”

Mr Turnbull had earlier sought to reassure Australians that the country was in a stronger border security position than Europe, with no internal borders or porous external borders.

“The reality is, of course, that we have the benefits of geography,” he said.