14/04/2017 11:17 AM AEST | Updated 14/04/2017 12:45 PM AEST

Shorten Honours 'Heroes Who Don't Wear A Uniform' In Easter Message

Labor has used Easter to send a message on penalty rates.

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Bill Shorten wants workers to be acknowledged this Easter.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten has used his Easter message to pay tribute to workers toiling over the holiday period, while urging a defence of penalty rates.

Good Friday marks the day when civil and religious leaders issue Easter statements reflecting on the meaning of the Christian holiday for contemporary Australia.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull used the date to urge Australians to look out for those less fortunate in the community.

"Jesus' example of love, sacrifice and service to others is one that inspires us all and is a reminder that Easter is also a time to remember and help those less fortunate, the lonely and the sick," he said.

He also paid tribute to emergency services workers, volunteers and ADF who "pitched in" to help cyclone and flood ravaged parts of NSW and Queensland in recent months.

"I hope you have a safe, peaceful and inspiring time shared with the people you love," Turnbull concluded.

Meanwhile, opposition leader Bill Shorten said Easter was a "wonderful time" to spend time family and friends.

Shorten also honoured ADF and emergency services who had aided natural disaster recovery efforts, but also "saluted" the "heroes who don't wear a uniform".

The Labor leader also used his message to stand up for those facing wage cuts.

"(They are) the ordinary Australians working on public holidays to provide for their families and to provide services for the rest of us. You deserve our thanks, not a pay cut to your penalty rates," he said.

Religious leaders also issued statements reflecting on the Christian message of Easter.

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, Archbishop Philip Freier, said Easter represented the "definitive proof" of Jesus' victory over sin and death.

"At the time of Jesus' death we read in the Bible that a great cloud of darkness covered the earth," he said.

"Our own times seem to have many dark clouds of threat. Even as many of us live in a world where our material needs are abundantly filled we know that many others, too many others, struggle just to meet their daily needs."

In his message, Adelaide Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson pointed to Cyclone Debbie, which he said showed both the best and the worst of human behaviour and spirit.

He said while some residents helped with the recovery, others looted abandoned homes.

"This contrast between people's capacity to do good and evil, and the hope that arises from despair, is very much a part of the Easter story of Christ's suffering, death and resurrection," he's quoted as saying.


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