Craig Thomson's lawyer has given NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell 24 hours to apologise or face legal action for a "completely unacceptable" comment about the federal MP.
Mr O'Farrell says he has nothing to be sorry for after he defended a pair of corrective services officers who strip-searched Thomson on Thursday ahead of his appearance on fraud charges in a NSW central coast court.
Thomson's lawyer, Chris McArdle, described the officers as "goons" and "galoots" and the search as the "absolutely extraordinary intimidation of an innocent man".
But the premier said the search was "standard procedure" and that Thomson and his lawyer should calm down because "this whole situation arose because Mr Thomson allegedly was too keen to get his kit off in front of strangers".
The independent member for Dobell has consistently denied allegations he misused union funds to pay for prostitutes, air travel, entertainment and cash withdrawals when he was national secretary of the Health Services Union (HSU).
Mr O'Farrell's comments infuriated Mr McArdle, who threatened to sue unless the premier apologised.
"(The premier) has used his credibility to prejudge our client. This is utterly and completely unacceptable," he told Fairfax Radio.
The lawyer on Friday demanded the premier apologise within 24 hours and admit his remarks were "unwise and unwarranted".
Mr O'Farrell conceded his comment was "flippant" and "cheeky" but maintained he had nothing to apologise for.
"In fact Mr McArdle ought to take back some of the comments that he's made today about police and corrective services officials," the premier told Fairfax Radio.
"But I just hasten to explain to Mr McArdle, who is a lawyer, that I did use the word allegations ... forgive me for having listened to five hours worth of media reports of Mr McArdle attacking corrective services officers for doing their jobs."
The Prison Officers Vocational Branch of the Public Service Association of NSW said it took exception to the "disparaging remarks" made by Mr McArdle.
PSA General Secretary Anne Gardiner said the officers involved in the strip-search were at all times acting in accordance with the standard operating procedures of corrective services.
"It is a safety requirement that all new custodies are strip-searched. Officers involved in the search acted in a professional and respectful manner at all times," Ms Gardiner said.
Speaking outside his lawyer's office in Sydney on Friday, Thomson said he would vigorously defend himself against 149 fraud charges laid by Victorian police.
Thomson's case will come before Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a civil penalty case against Thomson has been adjourned and will probably be stayed until the completion of criminal charges.
Federal Court Justice Christopher Jessup on Friday adjourned that matter until March 1, after a barrister for Fair Work Australia, Stephen Donaghue SC, told the court the law stated a civil proceeding must be stayed if a criminal proceeding relating to the same matter was afoot.
The court heard lawyers and Justice Jessup needed to see details of the criminal charges before the matter could be stayed.
The federal opposition says the government should not accept the Labor-turned-independent MP's vote when parliament resumes next week.
"If Craig Thomson tries to vote with us we remove one of our members," Manager of Opposition Business Chris Pyne told ABC Radio on Friday.
"We think Julia Gillard should do the same thing."
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