Abbott 'misled 7.30 or parliament'

THE Federal Government wants an investigation into whether Opposition Leader Tony Abbott misled the Parliament when he claimed he had read BHP Billiton's statement about shelving the Olympic Dam expansion.

Manger of government business Anthony Albanese has written to House of Representatives Speaker Peter Slipper asking whether Mr Abbott misled the Parliament last week.

Mr Abbott seized on BHP's decision on Wednesday to scrap the $30 billion Olympic Dam expansion, claiming the carbon and mining taxes were a major factor in the move.

That night on ABC's 7.30 program, under intense questioning from host Leigh Sales, he appeared to admit he had not read BHP's statement, which made no reference to the taxes.

Labor used question time on Thursday  to attack Mr Abbott over the interview.

But Mr Abbott responded to the question time taunts with this personal explanation: "Several times the Prime Minister in question time today claimed that I had not read the BHP statement issued yesterday. This is false."

Mr Albanese said the apparent contradiction represented a breach of privilege.

"Mr Abbott's comments on the 7.30 program and his statement to the Parliament the next day cannot both be true," Mr Albanese said in a statement.

"He has either misled the 7.30 program or misled the House."

Mr Abbott's now famous interview on 7.30 was in the news again earlier this week when influential Liberal Party strategist Grahame Morris said "Leigh can be a real cow sometimes when she's doing her interviews".

He later apologised for the comment.


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