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Thomson in plagiarism 'scandal'

The federal Opposition says reports embattled Labor MP Craig Thomson plagiarised sections of a report he made about his taxpayer-funded overseas study tour add to the whiff of scandal around him.

Mr Thomson passed off speeches by overseas officials and outdated Wikipedia articles as his own work in a parliamentary report on his 42-day trip that cost $24,000, it was reported.

Liberal backbencher Kelly O'Dwyer called for Mr Thomson to offer a better explanation than he gave to the media.

Mr Thomson said it was not an academic exercise.

Ms O'Dwyer told Sky News yesterday: ''There is a real whiff of scandal around Craig Thomson.

''I think when it comes to entitlements, expenses ... the Australian taxpayers have every right to know that their money is being spent wisely.''

Labor backbencher Nick Champion came to Mr Thomson's defence.

''Whenever I've talked to Craig I've always found him to be very well informed about international economic issues,'' he said.

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek pointed out Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop had plagiarised an essay in 2008.