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    Federal Labor leader Mark Latham says Health Minister Tony Abbott has been caught out not telling the truth.

    In an interview on ABC TV's Lateline program, Mr Abbott said he could not recall meeting Catholic Archbishop George Pell 10 days ago, but moments later when he was given a day and place of the meeting Mr Abbott admitted a meeting did take place.

    A few days after the two met, Archbishop Pell criticised Labor's policy to redistribute funds from wealthy private schools to needy independent schools.

    Mr Abbott says the two did not discuss Labor's schools plans.

    Mr Latham does not think Mr Abbott can be trusted.

    "Well, Tony Abbott's been caught out red handed not telling the truth," he said.

    "He said he couldn't recall the meeting with the man he then described as the most significant church leader he's ever met.

    "He met with him 10 days ago and can't remember it, it's another example of dishonesty by the Howard Government," he said.

    Four Catholic and Anglican Archbishops, including Cardinal Pell earlier this week issued a statement saying Labor's policy to direct funds from private schools to the more needy was regrettable.

    Mr Abbott says that was not discussed during his meeting.

    "I may well have been going to confession to Cardinal Pell, I may well have been seeking pastoral counselling," he said.

    Mr Abbott says it is bizarre to suggest the schools policy was mentioned.

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