They had the chance yet they didn't take it, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said on Friday in direct response to the Coalition demands that more questions need to be answered on the Slater & Gordon affair.
Ms Gillard was reacting to calls made today by Liberal frontbencher Christopher Pyne, who thought that her press conference on Thursday still left hanging issues on the matter and these can only be settled by facing the full Parliament and make a statement.
"This is just a pathetic attempt from the Opposition who had the opportunity to ask questions and didn't use it," the prime minister was quoted by The Herald Sun as saying while touring a Melbourne school.
"I've been in question time four days this week, I've taken dozens of questions from the Opposition and not one about this matter," Ms Gillard noted too.
On Thursday, the Labor leader attempted to put to rest lingering questions on her conduct as industrial lawyer for Slater & Gordon when The Australian ran stories this week alleging that she had a direct hand on the setting up of a trust fund that was controlled by her former partner, Bruce Wilson.
The same fund was used to host money that were collected for alleged labour union purposes but ended up in the personal employ of Mr Wilson and another of his associate.
Ms Gillard told reporters yesterday that indeed the fund was established partly on her work but she did it for free and insisted that she remained clueless on Mr Wilson's plan until the whole thing exploded.
"I had no involvement in the working of the association. I provided advice in relation to its establishment and that was it," Fairfax reported Ms Gillard as saying Thursday.
It was a mistake that she realised belatedly and when the truth came out, Ms Gillard claimed she immediately cut off any connection with Mr Wilson.
Ms Gillard admitted too that calling the association she helped set up as 'slush fund' "wasn't the best form of words."
She should have been more critical on the "business intentions" of Mr Wilson, the prime minister added.
"If you got to relive your life again, there would be a number of things that I would do differently. Life doesn't afford you that opportunity," Ms Gillard reflected.
The whole episode amounted to no charges being pursued by police authorities and an internal probe conducted by Slater & Gordon cleared Ms Gillard of any wrongdoing, which was, however, followed by her departure from the law firm.
Ms Gillard firmly reiterated that she resigned from her work and dismissed suggestions that she was eased out 17 years ago because trust on her by Slater & Gordon senior partner has been eroded by the incident.
Speaking to reporters in Brisbane on Friday, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott suggested the fact that the prime minister was forced to clarify the Slater & Gordon affair pointed to the likelihood that many details were left unsaid by one of the key players, Ms Gillard herself.
Mr Abbott pointed out that it was not his intent to unmask what kind of a lawyer the prime minister was, believing that it was now up to the Australian public if her declarations yesterday were plausible enough.
"My principle interest is not in whether the prime minister was a bad lawyer; it's whether she is a bad prime minister and the evidence we have is ... she is an incompetent and untrustworthy prime minister," the Coalition leader was reported by the Australian Associated Press (AAP) as saying.
To contact the editor, e-mail: