PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has received strong backing for her denials of any wrongdoing as a lawyer 17 years ago from the former Slater & Gordon senior partner who investigated her conduct, Peter Gordon.
Mr Gordon, who led an internal review of Ms Gillard's role in events involving her allegedly corrupt former boyfriend, Bruce Wilson, said in a statement yesterday that he had ''found nothing'' that contradicted her explanation.
''I believed at the time that there was no explicit or indirect evidence that she was involved in any wrongdoing and that remains my view today,'' Mr Gordon said.
His statement came as the firm backed Ms Gillard for the second time in three days, supporting the Prime Minister's insistence that she had been ignorant of Mr Wilson allegedly siphoning off money from large companies that was meant to go to training.
The firm's managing director, Andrew Grech, attacked the former partner who raised new questions about Ms Gillard's role, Nick Styant-Browne, accusing him of ''a serious breach of a legal practitioner's obligations'' in releasing a draft of a confidential statement by Mr Gordon.
Mr Styant-Browne is believed to continue to harbour doubts about Ms Gillard's explanation, prompting him to release to The Australian a draft statement Mr Gordon sent him last week, without Mr Gordon's knowledge or permission.
Mr Styant-Browne's action is believed to reflect the failure of the two former Slater & Gordon partners to agree on a joint statement on the circumstances surrounding Ms Gillard's departure from the firm.
It is believed Mr Styant-Browne was not completely satisfied with Ms Gillard's explanation about the incorporation of the entity she set up for Mr Wilson and a colleague; her failure to open a file about the matter in the office; and the fact that she could not categorically rule out union money being used on her house renovations - although she believed she had paid for everything and produced receipts.
Mr Gordon criticised Mr Styant-Browne for unilaterally releasing a draft account of events he had sent him. Mr Grech said nothing had come to light to contradict his earlier statement that she had done nothing wrong.
''In particular, to my knowledge, no one has advanced any credible evidence that there is now any more substance to the allegation first made 17 years ago, and denied by Ms Gillard at the time and since, that she was in any way aware of or a knowing participant in any wrongdoing,'' Mr Grech said.
Earlier, Ms Gillard made an indirect reference to the issue when Labor MPs met and backbencher John Murphy, lashing out at the attacks on her by News Ltd, asked her about media policy.
She referred to how material on the internet - where this affair has been raging - then spilled into the mainstream media. She also pointed to the US where so much time was being spent on personal material.
Asked whether the PM should answer questions on her role in the events, Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said the 1995 events had been investigated ''time and time again'' and had not been proved to have any substance.
She said it was ''beneath'' the PM ''to have to constantly respond to assertions where really no new allegation has been put and no particular substance … has been highlighted''.
While the opposition did not ask any questions about the affair in Parliament, its leader, Tony Abbott, earlier described the issue as one of ''legitimate media interest'', saying: ''The ball is now in the Prime Minister's court.''
Treasurer Wayne Swan said the ''muckraking has no justification in fact''.