“We have a formal request from the Americans to extend our air strikes into Syria“, the Prime Minister told reporters in the Western Australia capital of Perth.
The bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq has had mixed results.
Mr Abbott will go to the US after the September 19 by-election in the West Australian seat of Canning, although Ms Bishop says he may discuss Syria with Mr Obama before his trip.
Mr Shorten said he had spoke to the Prime Minister briefly about it today, was open to bipartisanship on the issue and expected a briefing next week.
“This is an absolutely evil movement, and the question is if they don’t respect the border, why should we?”
“The United States have asked us to be engaged in supporting manned strikes, but also intelligence surveillance, reconnaissance, air refuelling and the like”.
Fellow opposition frontbencher Brendan O’Connor said Labor had sought to work with the government on national security at all times.
“The Coalition has been invited in to Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government”.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says while the US has formally asked Australia to expand its operations in the Middle East to include air strikes on Syria, the government wants to be sure there is a credible legal basis for it.
‘She says that she supports the Labor position, the coalition position, but then she always moves a little bit to the left and has a slap at Bill Shorten on the way through, ‘ Ms Bishop told ABC television.
“We’ll take our own advice and we’ll assess that against the legal advice that the US and Canada and Jordan and the UAE are relying upon and indeed Turkey”, Ms Bishop said.
Despite Mr Abbott’s comments, government frontbencher Christopher Pyne said a decision on the request was yet to be made.
“The contribution of Australia, while always welcome, isn’t a game changer one way or the other, in part there’s a zero-sum gain”, Vice Admiral Johnston said.
Defence think-tank the Australian Strategic Policy Institute has previously said Australia should only join the fight in Syria if there was a “new strategy with an achievable set of objectives” and a major step up in air support from Australia’s allies.