Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has weighed in on the Australian cricket ball tampering controversy on Sunday afternoon, slamming the team for cheating.

"We all woke up this morning shocked and bitterly disappointed by the news from South Africa," he told reporters. "It seemed completely beyond belief that the Australian cricket team had been involved in cheating.

"After all, our cricketers are role models and cricket is synonymous with fair play. How can our team by engaged in cheating like this? It beggars belief.

"There's a lot of disappointment."

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Turnbull said he had spoken to Cricket Australia chairman David Peever and hoped the sport's governing body would take "decisive action".

"I've expressed to him very clearly and unequivocally my disappointment and my concern about the events in South Africa," Turnbull said.

"It's their responsibility to deal with it but I have to say the whole nation who holds those who wear the baggy green up on a pedestal — about as high as you can get in Australia, higher than any politician that's for sure — this is a shocking disappointment and it's wrong and I look forward to Cricket Australia taking decisive action soon."

However, Turnbull wouldn't be drawn into making a call about whether Smith should be sacked.