Labor Leader Bill Shorten lashed out at Liberal Cory Bernardi on Wednesday, calling the right-wing Liberal senator a “homophobe”.
The verbal stoush came during a press conference Mr Shorten was giving to journalists about his party’s opposition to the government’s investigation into funding for the Safe Schools program.
Part of the program’s purpose is to help prevent bullying of gay and trans-gender students. Mr Bernardi is one of the most hard-line opponents of the program’s funding for the initiative.
Mr Bernardi walked past as Mr Shorten was addressing the assembled journalists.
“That would be the chap,” the opposition leader said, referring to members of the government pushing for the defunding.
Mr Bernardi responded, saying: “At least I’m honest”.
Mr replied: “No, mate. At least I’m not a homophobe.”
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull earlier this week ordered a review of the program which seeks to promote acceptance of LGBTI students.
While the move was hailed by the Australian Christian Lobby as a victory against “rainbow ideology”, Labor and Teacher’s Union have accused Mr Turnbull of caving-in to the conservative fringes of his party.
IMAGE: Library photo of Bill Shorten. (Brook Mitchell/Getty Images)