Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Inga Williams

Parliament to heat up amid Gillard's fraud allegations

THE final sitting of Parliament is expected to be particularly toxic this week as the Opposition limbers up to confront the Prime Minister over 17-year-old allegations of wrongdoing.

The claims relate to what involvement, if any, Julia Gillard had in fraud committed inside the Australian Workers Union when a lawyer in the 1990s.

Opposition leader Tony Abbott has left the fight largely for others, telling national media he was prepared to give her the benefit of the doubt but it was time for Julia Gillard to tell her side of the story.

Mr Abbott's deputy Julie Bishop said she would demand Ms Gillard answer questions in a "full and frank way".

"It's one thing to give answers to journalists at a press conference," Ms Bishop said.

"It's another thing to give answers in question time because there are consequences of misleading the parliament."

Treasurer Wayne Swan described allegations against the Prime Minister as a "smear campaign" from the Opposition, disgruntled colleagues and "a crook", none of whom could back up their claims.

It will be the Prime Minister this week who will likely be the one to watch.

Buoyed by bursts of support after her speech accusing Mr Abbot and the Opposition of sexism, Ms Gillard has already begun taking a stand against the allegations.

On Friday, she told reporters the claims boiled down to "absolutely nothing".

"There has not been one substantiated allegation of wrongdoing put against me across the full 20 years and the whole campaign of smear," Ms Gillard said.

Parliament will sit from Monday until Thursday before resuming in February next year.



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