PM denies verbal attack on Tas treasurer

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has rejected as "rubbish" claims he labelled the Tasmanian treasurer a beggar during an expletive-laden tirade about the GST carve-up.

Senior Liberal sources have told News Corp Mr Morrison - who was then federal treasurer - was pulled from negotiations by former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull after the verbal assault.

"No, that's rubbish," Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

Mr Morrison allegedly called Peter Gutwein a "f**king mendicant", another word for a beggar.

The Tasmanian treasurer has also denied the term was used.

"While it is not my usual practice to comment on private conversations, I can confirm that during our discussions relating to the GST the phrase attributed in today's media to Mr Morrison was not used," he said.

"Mr Morrison and I continue to have a very good working relationship and most importantly, the GST proposal that Mr Morrison and I reached is, on face value, a good deal for Tasmania."

Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek said the issue is not the prime minister's swearing, it was what she called his "temper".

"I'm not beyond using the occasional swear word myself, I can confess, so I'm not 'judgey' about that" she told Sky News.

"But I think if Scott Morrison wants to present a certain image to the Australian people of being warm and cuddly now, he ought to deal with his temper, he's got quite a temper on him."

Details of the alleged exchange follow a recent run of leaks praising Mr Turnbull's record in office, after he was forced to resign during a Liberal leadership stoush last month.

At the time of the conversation between Mr Morrison and Mr Gutwein, the federal government was considering the distribution of GST revenue to the states and territories amid claims by Western Australia that it was being ripped off.

In 2015, Mr Gutwein himself labelled the WA government "mendicants" who should "put away their begging bowl and stop coming to other states and territories asking us to fix a budget problem they have largely created themselves."

Earlier this year, the coalition government under Mr Turnbull announced a plan to overhaul the GST distribution, promising WA extra funds along with boosts for other states.

Australian Associated Press