Abbott had called for Gillard to resign in the wake of accusations she behaves inappropriately when acting for her former boyfriend as a lawyer 20 years ago, but stopped short of saying she committed a crime.

Gillard later told the Sydney Morning Herald: ”The lesson from all of this is that negativity is hard-wired into this Leader of the Opposition.”

”I note some Liberal strategists are saying they are going to reset him or rebuild him over summer, as if he was a robot you could bolt another part on to, but this kind of negativity is who he is and that will never change and that will shape the contest in 2013 between me and him …

”Leadership is about character and if all you can do is complain and divide and dig dirt then you are not a suitable person to run the country.

A heated debate marked end of the parliamentary season, with Abbott intent on getting mileage out of the so-called Slater and Gordon affair.

PM Gillard suspended parliament as it began and demanded Tony Abbott be given 15 minutes to back up his claim that she breached West Australian laws as a lawyer providing advice on the incorporation of an association, referred to as a slush fund in reports, for her then boyfriend Bruce Wilson.

She said if the Liberal and Opposition leader couldn’t substantiate his attack, in which he referred to her as a “dodgy an unethical laywer”, he should “unreservedly apologise”.

Abbott has called for a judicial inquiry into the two decade old affair.

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