Abbott must disclose contact: Albanese
LEADER of the house Anthony Albanese has called on Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to come clean on any involvement Coalition MPs had in orchestrating a politically-motivated sexual harassment case against embattled Speaker Peter Slipper.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Mr Albanese referred to "explosive" documents filed in the Sydney Federal Court this week which suggested high profile members of Queensland's LNP had worked with staffer James Ashby to build the case.
Mr Abbott has been quoted as saying the "fate of the Gillard Government rests entirely" on two MPS - Craig Thompson and Peter Slipper.
With that in mind, Mr Albanese said it was vital for Mr Abbott to disclose "all contact between his party and James Ashby, the nature of that contact, the nature of the knowledge and involvement in the legal action taken by Mr Ashby including the questions that had been raised as a result of the release of court documents".
He also demanded to know who was covering Mr Ashby's legal costs.
When news of the sexual harassment allegations broke late at night on April 21, Mr Slipper was in the US.
His lawyers claim News Ltd's Steve Lewis and Mr Ashby's lawyers deliberately timed the release of the first article so Mr Slipper would be out of the country.
Mr Albanese questioned why Mr Abbott had a press release on the issue "ready to go" at 9.15 the next morning.
He described the case against Mr Slipper "a very political issue" and said it was time for Mr Abbott to prove the allegations had not been made to secure a political advantage for the Coalition.
"Just like in the Godwin Grech affair, we've seen the details and the reality and the facts be very different from the allegations that were first made," Mr Albanese said
"He has run from the parliament, but he can't run from his role, and the role of the coalition, in these incidents."