Australia PM suspends embattled lawmaker from party

April 29, 2012 07:08

SYDNEY - Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Sunday moved to distance herself from growing anger at a series of government scandals, suspending a lawmaker accused of misusing funds, a week after the parliament Speaker stood down over a sexual harassment lawsuit.

The suspension of Craig Thomson from the ruling Labor Party was seen as unlikely to weaken Gillard's already tenuous grip on power as he is expected to support the government as an independent.

The prime minister has been struggling after months of poor polls, which predict a landslide victory by opposition leader Tony Abbott in an election which must be held by next year at the latest.

Her government has relied on independents since a 2010 general election, which returned a hung parliament.

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