Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

PM accuses Shorten of lying in new robo-call

MALCOLM Turnbull has accused Bill Shorten of lying in a new robo-call blaming the Prime Minister for a decision to cut Sunday penalty rates.

When asked about the call, Mr Turnbull said: "He's lying, just like he lied to you.”

"He was here in April last year and said he would support the decision of the Fair Work Commission on penalty rates even if they resulted in a reduction in Sunday penalty rates to bring them closer to Saturday penalty rates,” Mr Turnbull said.

The Opposition leader this morning defended the call, which begins: "Malcolm Turnbull's cuts to penalty rates will mean 700,000 workers will lose up to $77 per week.”

Mr Shorten was questioned by reporters in Canberra on whether the line was a lie as the decision was in fact made by the Fair Work Commission.

"What is point of being Prime Minister if you are never going to stand up for workers,” Mr Shorten responded.

The Labor leader said Mr Turnbull had previously intervened in the decisions of independent umpires on the pay rates of truck drivers and Victorian firefighters.

"He has the power to stop this mistaken decision, he chooses not to,” Mr Shorten said.

Earlier, Mr Turnbull told radio station 3AW he supported the independent umpire's call to reduce penalty rates but it was not the government's decision.

"Shorten has no regard for the truth, any more than Sally McManus has for the rule of law,” he said.

Claire Bickers

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