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Thursday 20th March 2014 - 3:56 pm
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PM “shifty” Shorten

by Alan Thornhill

The Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, accused the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, of “shifty” conduct today, as Parliament was debating events surrounding Arthur Sinodinos.

Senator Sinodinis stood aside from his position as Assistant Treasurer yesterday, after he was mentioned at a hearing by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

A witness said Sinodinos stood to receive a payment of $10 to $20 million, if a particular deal went ahead.

Mr Shorten moved in Parliament today that Mr Abbott be given time to explain what he had known about this situation, when he appointed Senator Sinodinis to his ministry last Septemvber, and when Mr Abbott had obtained that knowledge.

Labor has been questioning Mr Abbott closely on these issues, over the past two days.

However the Prime Minister has said little beyond asserting that Senator Sinodinos “did the right thing” when he stood aside from his position in the ministry.

Mr Shorten stepped up his attack on the Prime Minister in Parliament today, saying he was “uncomfortable” with the Prime Minister’s “shifty” conduct on this matter.

“The Prime Minister needs to come clean on what he knows and when he knew it” Mr Shorten said.

However the government blocked the Opposition’s move to call on the Prime Minister to explain his conduct.

The Leader of the House, Christopher Pyne, opposed it, describing Labor as “the party of sleaze and smear.”

He said the government “would not be lectured” by the party of Craig Thomson and Eddie Obeid.

Mr Shorten’s move was defeated on a party line vote, 48 to 83.

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Alan Thornhill

Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
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