• Bill Shorten in an ad about "Australians" with an all white cast. (Nine)Source: Nine
Publicity fail for Shorten's new "employ Australians first ad" featuring only white people gets slammed as "racist".
Staff writers

8 May 2017 - 1:45 PM  UPDATED 8 May 2017 - 1:45 PM

Bill Shorten has acknowledged that casting mistakes were made after an ALP campaign ad about employing "Australians first" ahead of foreign workers was branded a racist whitewash. 

The ad features 12 white looking people standing with Mr Shorten in an ad with the tagline: "Employ Australians First". The backlash on social media started overnight, then picked up pace this morning.


 The ad was given to Channel Nine and run on the channel's Sunday night news.

This morning Mr Shorten was asked about the ads and claims they were "white washing".

"I’m not in the ad-making business. I make no apology for saying that there’s been 130,000 apprenticeships cut under the Liberals, that we’ve had too many rorts in our 457 visa system," he told reporters.

“I certainly think we need to encourage as much diversity as we can. I’ve had a look at the final production and I think we should have had more diversity in it and I will be speaking to the Labor party about that.”

Later, Labor Infrastructure spokesman Anthony Albanese described the ad as a "shocker" and said neither he nor anyone else on the ALP national executive had seen the ad before it was aired.

Later on Twitter, Mr Shorten apologised for the ad describing the lack of diverse casting as an "oversight" that "won't happen again".