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Australian Opposition urges gov't to sack Labor MP over escort scandal

(Xinhua)

15:48, August 21, 2011

CANBERRA, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- Australian Opposition Leader Tony Abbott on Sunday said Labor backbencher Craig Thomson can no longer remain the chairman of Parliament's Economics Committee, amid his scandal over misuse of union credit card to pay for prostitutes.

Thomson, the Australian Labor Party member for the New South Wales seat of Dobell, is facing an investigation by Fair Work Australia over his authorization of the use of a union credit card to pay for prostitutes while he was in charge of the Health Services Union.

He also belatedly updated his parliamentary members' interest register to declare 93,700 U.S. dollars given to him by the New South Wales Labor Party to cover legal bills and help him avoid bankruptcy.

Abbott said Prime Minister Julia Gillard should stand Thomson aside from the Parliament's Economics Committee.

"I think it's very hard for someone who can't answer questions about his own credit card to credibly ask questions of the Governor of the Reserve Bank about the nation's credit card," Abbott told Sky News on Sunday.

"So I think this is a big issue and I think the short answer is no, he can't really remain chairman of that committee."

The call came a day after New South Wales Liberal Premier Barry O'Farrell said Thomson should stand down from federal parliament.

Thomson has denied any wrongdoing, with Gillard and Treasurer Wayne Swan said they have full confidence in Thomson.

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