News National Bill Shorten outraged at Liberal Senator for ‘disgraceful lie’

Bill Shorten outraged at Liberal Senator for ‘disgraceful lie’

Bill Shorten
Bill Shorten has been accused of leaking Malcolm Turnbull's Donald Trump impersonation. Photo: AAP
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Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has slammed a Liberal Senator and urged him to apologise for his “disgraceful lie” amid the fallout of Malcolm Turnbull’s leaked speech from a private event in Canberra.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann suggested the Labor leader was to blame for leaking Mr Turnbull’s now-infamous Donald Trump jibe at the off-the-record event on Wednesday night.

“Bill Shorten will have to clarify today whether it is true that his office was behind leaking those secret recordings,” Mr Cormann told Sky News on Friday morning.

But Senator Cormann’s suggestion was angrily dismissed by Mr Shorten.

“This is completely wrong, Senator Cormann should apologise for this disgraceful lie,” a brief statement read.

Nine Network political editor Laurie Oakes, who released the speech on Thursday, added weight to Mr Shorten’s claims, saying the Senator’s accusation was “rubbish”.

Oakes added on the Nine Network that Mr Trump would likely be unhappy with Mr Turnbull’s reference to “this Russian guy” in his speech, a joke which took aim at the US investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

“We know how Donald Trump feels about the claim of links between his campaign and the Russians,” he said.

“He sacked the FBI director over it for God’s sake. I don’t think he’s going to be laughing too much.”

Liberal Minister Christopher Pyne said Mr Shorten’s speech wasn’t leaked because it wasn’t humorous.

“The reason Bill Shorten’s speech wasn’t leaked is because it was such a stinker,” Mr Pyne told Nine Network’s Today show.

“On the other hand Malcolm’s was very funny.

“The whole point of the Mid-Winter Ball speeches is to be funny, and it’s great that the Australian public have got to see a side of Malcolm that I see on a regular basis.”

In an interview on Friday, Mr Turnbull appeared keen to dismiss talk of controversy surrounding his speech, but said he was “disappointed” it was recorded and subsequently broadcast.

Listen to Malcolm Turnbull’s speech below:

“It’s [Mid-Winter Ball] a great occasion where we send each other up, and send up ourselves,” he said on the Seven Network.

“It entertained everyone in the room, helped raised a lot of money for charity. It was a good night, everyone had a laugh.”

In the speech, Mr Turnbull mocked the US President about his poor polling and employed his famous catchphrases like “fake news”.

However, it appears the controversial jokes have not hurt Mr Turnbull’s relations with the United States, with the US Embassy stating no offence had been taken.

“We understand that last night’s event is equivalent to our own White House Correspondent’s Dinner,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.

“We take this with the good humour that was intended.”

Mr Trump has not publicly commented on the matter.

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