Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has stepped up his offensive against Labor leader Bill Shorten by attacking the former union boss the morning after his now infamous tirade.
On Wednesday Mr Turnbull berated Mr Shorten during question time for “selling out” workers while he was the Australian Workers’ Union boss and “sucking up” to billionaires.
He repeated those attacks during a press conference on Thursday morning after his Question Time attack made headlines around the country.
“[Politics] is about character … I don’t suck up to billionaires,” Mr Turnbull said. “I look them in the eye and when I need to I take them on.
“Bill Shorten doesn’t have the character to be PM of Australia. He does not have the integrity to be Leader of the Opposition.
“I am my own man. I can’t be bought by anyone.”
“Bill Shorten is a hypocrite. His colleagues know he is a hypocrite. Their faces were a study yesterday in the House. They knew that everything I said about him was true and so do you and so do the Australian people.”
He doesn’t have a fair dinkum bone in him.”
On Tuesday Mr Turnbull branded Mr Shorten a “sycophant”.
“There was never a union leader in Melbourne that tucked his knees under more billionaire’s tables than the Leader of the Opposition,” he said.
“He lapped it up, yes, he lapped it up. He was such a sycophant, a social-climbing sycophant if there ever was one.”
Mr Shorten responded on Thursday saying he felt sorry for Mr Turnbull.
“I’m relaxed in my own skin – I’m relaxed in my record of representing people.
“The more he yells at me, the more I wonder if he is judging himself,” Mr Shorten said.
He had responded on Tuesday night, telling the ABC’s 7:30 program he felt sorry for Mr Turnbull.
“I feel a little bit for him at the moment as he is under great pressure,” Mr Shorten said.
“The drums are beating in the corridors of Canberra about whether or not he will remain as Liberal leader and I think he is showing pressure.
“I think Mr Turnbull showed he is about defending his own job.”
Mr Turnbull’s attacks come as the government endures a tough start to 2017.
The Centrelink debt recovery scandal, a feud with US President Donald Trump and dwindling opinion poll results have increased the pressure on the Turnbull government of late.