24/02/2016 10:12 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST

Bill Shorten Calls Cory Bernardi A 'Homophobe' Right To His Face

Fairfax Media

Opposition leader Bill Shorten has been criticised in the past for not being direct and assertive enough.

That criticism went out the window this morning, as he labelled conservative senator Cory Bernardi a "homophobe" right to his face during a press conference at Parliament House.

Shorten had been holding a morning media opportunity on the issues of the day, talking about negative gearing and the housing market, when the conversation turned to yesterday's big news; Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull asking Education Minister Simon Birmingham to review the Safe Schools Coalition, which aims to address homophobia in schools and support LGBT students, after a concerted campaign by conservative groups and politicians, including Bernardi.

"We see this ridiculous obsession by the right wing of the Liberal Party..." Shorten began, when suddenly Bernardi was on the sidelines of the press conference.

"At least I’m honest, Bill, and you're a fraud," the South Australian senator yelled, unwittingly unleashing a targeted tactical airstrike of a Shorten zinger.

"I’m least I’m not a homophobe either mate. So let's just do the right thing," Shorten shot back.

Here's the entire exchange on video:

Not surprisingly, Bernardi moved on pretty quickly.