Anthony Albanese says Tony Abbott should give a ''full explanation'' of claims he physically intimidated a female opponent during a student election, accusing the Opposition Leader of having double standards.
Mr Albanese, the Leader of the House, says that after Mr Abbott demanded Prime Minister Julia Gillard give a full statement about why she left a Melbourne law firm before entering parliament, he should do the same over stories from his student days.
''It is Tony Abbott himself who says that it's legitimate to go back into people's past decades,'' Mr Albanese told reporters in Canberra today.
Following claims she acted improperly during her time at Slater & Gordon in the mid-1990s, Ms Gillard gave a 50-minute press conference two weeks ago, in which she answered a series of questions about her conduct.
On Saturday, Fairfax published extracts from an article in The Quarterly Essay by David Marr, which detailed claims that, after losing a 1977 student election, Mr Abbott violently intimidated his opponent Barbara Ramjan.
Mr Abbott told Mr Marr he had no recollection of the incident.
"It would be profoundly out of character had it occurred," he is quoted saying in the essay.
But yesterday Mr Abbott released a denial: "It never happened."
Mr Albanese said today that the public was owed a ''full explanation'' of the incident. ''Tony Abbott needs to stop ducking and weaving.''
The Leader of the House also suggested that Mr Abbott may have misled the House over whether or not he had read a BHP statement on its decision not to go ahead with the Olympic Dam expansion last month.
In an interview with the ABC's 7.30 program in August, Mr Abbott initially said he had not read the statement. The next day, the Opposition Leader told parliament he had at 3.45 pm the previous day.
The account was backed up by Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey, who said the two Coalition MPs had read the statement together. Mr Albanese has already written to Speaker Peter Slipper raising concerns about the matter, but the Speaker has not yet responded.
Today, Mr Albanese said that Mr Abbott could not possibly have read the statement with Mr Hockey at 3.45 pm because they were not in the same place.
''Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey's whereabouts are known at 3.45 pm on the Wednesday. They weren't together,'' Mr Albanese said.
The Leader of the House said that Mr Abbott was in the chamber, speaking on a Matter of Public Importance (MPI). Mr Albanese said that Mr Abbott then left, with Mr Hockey still in the House talking on the MPI.
Mr Albanese said the two men had not read the statement together in the House, as TV footage showed they were preparing for the MPI.
''Unless there was something going on, some sort of Klingon thing happening between Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey, then it simply can't be true that they read the statement together at 3.45 pm.''
- With AAP