Bill Shorten accuses Malcolm Turnbull of a tweet meltdown
BILL Shorten has accused Malcolm Turnbull of having a "tweet meltdown" over his response to a report about government cuts in the May budget.
Prime Minister Turnbull launched a series of tweets, in a style reminiscent of US President Donald Trump, on Sunday in response to a report the government plans to cut concession cards and welfare payments in the May budget.
A report today that the government is cutting the aged pension is false and we outright reject it.— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) March 19, 2017
He went on to assure aged pensioners the changes would not make the budget.
I can assure all aged pensioners the measure reported will NOT be in the Budget.— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) March 19, 2017
Turnbull then turned his attention to the reporter who revealed the contents of the documents to the public.
We assured the journalist too, but she insisted on writing the story.— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) March 19, 2017
And finally, he turned his attention to Shorten.
And sadly, I can also assure you that you can always rely on Bill Shorten to lie.— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) March 19, 2017
Shorten had his own tweet to fire back.
Your government. Your costing. Your cuts. Stop blaming everyone else. https://t.co/hWkrD9KPVc— Bill Shorten (@billshortenmp) March 19, 2017
He followed that up with further comment at a Labor rally against penalty rates cuts in Melbourne.
"I'm starting to feel sorry for Mr Turnbull," Mr Shorten.
"He's launched his tweet meltdown and he finishes as he finishes every conversation with the public these days, with a personal attack on me.
Bill Shorten at the penalty rates rally held by the Victorian Labor's Community Action Network. Picture: AAP
"Mr Turnbull is showing, I think, signs of pressure. If you can't cope with the pressure, you shouldn't blame Labor.
"Instead he should focus on the needs of everyday Australians. That's my focus."
Social Services Minister Christian Porter issued a media release in response to the claims about the cuts in welfare for elderly Australians,
"An article in News Ltd papers today, citing a departmental document, in regard to minimum payments in the welfare system, is wrong," Mr Porter said in the statement.
"A minimum payment floor will not be applied and there will be no change to current rules that provide pensioners on the taper rate with a minimum payment of approximately $50 per fortnight.
"The proposal referred to in the article was nothing more than a suggestion put forward by a department and immediately rejected by the Government, as the journalist responsible for the article was advised.
"Such a proposal would not be fair to pensioners and any such measure will NOT be in the Budget."