Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has channelled Arnold Schwarzenegger while trying to fend off budget attacks from Labor, calling the opposition leader an “economic girlie man”.
He said Labor’s problem was that “Bill Shorten is an economic girlie man” – a phrase coined by former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger at a 2004 Republican convention speech directed at budget pessimists.
Labor says it could get the budget back to surplus ahead of the coalition, which is facing difficulty getting several controversial measures through the Senate.
Senator Cormann said Labor had no viable plan to achieve a surplus and challenged the opposition to reveal where it would make cuts and increase revenue.
Labor MP Ed Husic lashed out at Senator Cormann, saying he should stop the “juvenile name-calling” and fix the budget.
“The Terminator should become the Deodoriser and get the stink out of his budget,” he told Sky News.
Australian Greens senator Larissa Waters said the term was offensive and accused the minister of being sexist.
“Australian women will be appalled that he has chosen to use gender as a derogatory attack,” Senator Waters said.
“Just more of the same from this sexist, arrogant government.”