The Prime Minister has accused Tony Abbott of hypocrisy, after one of his frontbenchers wrote to a suspended Labor MP asking him to support the coalition in parliament.

The opposition has admitted it was a mistake, but the government says it shows double standards.

Caitlin Hargrave reports.


Liberal frontbencher Mathias Cormann admits the letter to Craig Thomson, asking for his vote on superannuation law changes, should never have been sent to him.

He says Mr Thomson’s name was mistakenly added to the coalition’s list of independents.

Mathias Cormann, Shadow Assistant Treasurer: “Whenever you wonder whether it is a conspiracy or stuff up, always go for the stuff up.”

Craig Thomson, Suspended Labour MP: “It’s mind blowing.”

But the Prime Minister says it’s double standards from Tony Abbott.

Julia Gillard, Prime Minister: “Mr Abbott has said consistently that he wouldn’t accept Craig Thomson’s vote and then he’s got his team out there canvassing for it. It’s a clear example of double standards.”

Others in the Government say it was sent on purpose.

Mark Dreyfus, Parliamentary Secretary: “He’s written a deliberate letter to Craig Thomson because he wants his vote.”

The Opposition insists it was just a mistake.

Julie Bishop, Deputy Opposition Leader: “It was an oversight and it certainly won’t happen again.”

There’s little doubt that what will happen again is more attacks from both sides of politics to attempt to damage their opponents.

Caitlin Hargrave, QUT News.