OPPOSITION Leader Bill Shorten has referred to far right Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi as a “homophobe” in response to a corridor heckle in Canberra this morning regarding the Safe Schools program.

 The South Australian senator had interrupted Shorten’s media doorstop regarding Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s decision to review the Safe Schools program, which is designed to encourage respect and tolerance for LGBTI school students.

Shorten was telling reporters: “We see this ridiculous, absurd obsession by the right wing of the Liberal Party about Safe Schools.”

“At least I’m honest, Bill. You’re a fraud,” Bernardi said as he walked past.

“No, mate. At least I’m not a homophobe either, mate,” Shorten quipped, without turning to acknowledge the senator. [Scroll down to watch full video]

The exchange comes less than 24 hours after the PM caved in to pressure from far right Liberal backbenchers, led by Bernardi, by ordering an inquiry of the Safe Schools program.

Shorten is not the first Labor leader to publicly criticise Bernardi in regards to Safe Schools. Yesterday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews wrote a Facebook post slamming the federal government’s decision to investigate the Safe Schools program. The post went viral on social media.

The heckle this morning also comes just as the Australian Greens launched an online petition in support of the Safe Schools program.

At present, the Safe Schools program receives $8 million in federal funding, while the controversial School Chaplaincy Program receives $243.8 million in funding.

Watch the video:

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