LABOR leader BILL Shorten and his deputy have condemned the brutal attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando as a 'senseless attack on common humanity'".

Mr Shorten and Tanya Plibersek said they were "shocked and saddened by reports that so many innocent people have been brutally murdered at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida."

"Australia grieves with the loved ones of the dead.

"Our thoughts too are with the injured.

"These murders are despicable, and cowardly. We condemn them, utterly.

"Many in the LGBTI community will feel an added layer of pain and a sharper sense of loss in the wake of this tragedy.  We stand with you in solidarity.

"This was a horrific and senseless attack on our common humanity."

Earlier, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Australia needed to remain vigilant in the wake of the deadly shootings.

He said Australia had tough gun laws but it could not be complacent.

"There are people outside our country and some within it, who hate the freedoms that we enjoy and would seek to threaten them and undermine them with violence.

"And I know that I speak for all Australians when I say that we stand in solidarity with the people of the US as they stand up to this violent, hate-filled attack."

Mr Turnbull, speaking to media in Townsville, said it was it too early to say what motivated the gunman.

He said this is "not simply an assault on the people that have been killed and injured it's an assault on every one of us".

"It's an assault on freedom. "

Labor's Jason Clare said such an attack could happen in Australia.

"We can't be naive and assume that just because we're in Australia that this can't happen here.

" We don't have the same gun laws, the same access to high grade military weapons that you find in the US, but we shouldn't assume that just because of that, that something like that can't happen here in Australia as well."


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