Malcolm Turnbull believes Australians will be sickened by Labor’s games in parliament while the nation grapples with the possibility of war on the Korean peninsula.
But the opposition says the prime minister is just being melodramatic.
The dual citizenship debacle is expected to spark another fiery fortnight of parliament as Labor pressures the government over double standards applying to ministers whose eligibility is in doubt.
Seven MPs, including Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce will be scrutinised by the High Court over their dual citizenship and eligibility to sit in parliament.
Mr Joyce and Nationals deputy leader Fiona Nash have stayed in their senior positions while fellow minister Matt Canavan stepped down when he discovered his possible ineligibility.
The opposition is threatening to delay all votes in the lower house until Mr Joyce steps aside or the High Court makes its ruling.
Mr Turnbull suggested Labor’s priorities were skewed.
“You have (deputy Labor leader) Tanya Plibersek out there yesterday – is she talking about North Korea? Is she talking about how the opposition stands in support of the government in demanding stronger sanctions against North Korea?” he said on ABC radio on Monday.
“No, she is talking about playing games on the floor of the parliament.
“Australians will be sickened by the sight of the Labor Party’s failure to recognise the priorities of the Australian parliament.”
During a press conference on Sunday Ms Plibersek responded to North Korea’s latest nuclear bomb test.
The opposition’s chief tactician Tony Burke accused the prime minister of “a bit of melodrama”.
“He’s wanting to say somehow we shouldn’t be upset that we might have a deputy prime minister who’s not constitutionally allowed to be in parliament because of the threat from North Korea?” he told ABC radio.
“In terms of trying to draw a long bow … it’s only Monday but I think he’s already won for the week.”
Mr Turnbull heads to the Pacific Islands Forum in Samoa at the end of the week, leaving Mr Joyce leading the country.
Labor says there’s no way he should be acting prime minister while his eligibility is in doubt.
The High Court will hear the dual citizenship cases over three days from October 10.