POLITICS

Shorten Says Turnbull Tried To Impress Right-Wing Liberals With Verbal Spray

He said the PM is under a lot of pressure to keep his job.

08/02/2017 7:59 PM AEDT | Updated 08/02/2017 10:34 PM AEDT
Jason Reed / Reuters
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten isn't having any of PM Malcolm Turnbull's extraordinary verbal attack on him.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has labelled the Prime Minister's verbal attack on him earlier on Wednesday a show to "impress the right wing of his party" in order to keep his job.

Appearing on the ABC's 7.30, Shorten claimed the extraordinary spray Malcolm Turnbull produced during Question Time on Wednesday was a result of the pressure he's currently feeling from within his party.

"I feel a little bit for him at the moment as he is under great pressure. You would know as well as I do that the drums are beating in the corridors of Canberra about whether or not he will remain as Liberal leader," he said.

"I think he is showing pressure. I don't think Australians have seen that sort of anger from him since his famous election night speech."

The comments come in reaction to Turnbull labelling the Opposition leader a "parasite" and a "sycophant" who spends his time "blowing hard in the House of Representatives, sucking hard in the living rooms of Melbourne," earlier in the day.

When quizzed by 7.30 presenter Leigh Sales about his relations with Melbourne's elite and the possible effects that could have on his party's policies, Shorten urged the public to judge him by his policies.

"We take our orders from the middle and working class of Australia," he said.

"I was fired up about 1 million families losing family payments. For a family on $75,000 a year, they will be about $1000 worse off and Mr Turnbull was fired up about about saving his job.

"Does anyone in politics seriously think this pressured performance was anything other than appealing to his backbench? My concern is he is so keen to impress the right wing of his party that millions of ordinary Australians suffer."

The Question Time clash was spurred on by Turnbull's announcement on Wednesday of what he called "the most significant reform to the early education and care system in 40 years," as well as the axing of the 'Gold Pass' travel entitlement for retired politicians.

However, that didn't stop the debate turning personal between the pair.

"I don't begrudge his wealth," Shorten told Sales. "But I do begrudge when he has seriously out of touch policies which are massively disappointing."

"It isn't Labor's plan to give a $50 billion tax cut the corporate entities and our plan to treat Centrelink recipients as cheap and criminals. It isn't our plan to not tackle housing affordability and then defend negative gearing. Mr Turnbull's policies, leave aside his personal attacks, are seriously out of touch."

Fairfax Media / Andrew Meares
Malcolm Turnbull let loose on Bill Shorten in Parliament on Wednesday.

Shorten also used his first in-depth television interview for 2017 to address Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party in light of the rise of U.S. President Donald Trump and his controversial immigration policies.

"First of all, I do not believe this country will make genuine progress if we practice the politics of division. The Labor Party stands true to its values and this is why we have a fundamental disagreement with One Nation on these matters," he said.

The Opposition Leader also ruled out preferencing the One Nation Party in future elections.

"That has been our policy and it remains so. I would expect Malcolm Turnbull to stand up for the same views. You and I know that he would agree with me on this issue.

"The good thing about Labor is we are united and I am sure our party will back the position which I have enunciated tonight, which has been our policy."

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