Laid bare --Confessions of a Labor politician

By ED SOUTHORN

LABOR deputy leader Wayne Swan has visited "colourful pubs" where women were topless and Richmond MP Justine Elliot has been to a strip club.

The two made their exclusive confessions to the Daily News yesterday, and praised Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd for confessing his strip club visit was a mistake.

But Mr Swan and Ms Elliot pointed out these were not the important issues voters anticipating a federal election wanted their politicians to embrace.

During a visit to the Tweed yesterday Mr Swan, whose electorate is in Brisbane, said topless barmaids were not uncommon in Brisbane pubs, especially on Friday afternoons, and many workers who went for drinks at the end of the week might expect to see them.

Ms Elliot said her strip club visit was during her previous career as a police officer and on police business.

Mr Swan said Labor expected the Coalition would continue to "get out the mud bucket" with a string of personal attacks on individual Labor frontbenchers in the lead-up to the election, which he expects will be in early October, "because they are desperate" to overhaul Labor's lead in the polls.

"Labor has been talking about the really important issues for some time now, industrial relations and working conditions, interest rates, housing affordability, the rental crisis, education, high-speed broadband, climate change. These are the issues people want to know about, but it's common knowledge in Canberra that the Coalition plans to line up Labor frontbenchers and smear them."

Mr Swan said the%Coalition smear campaign was designed to disguise Prime Minister John Howard's lack of interest in some of the important issues facing Australia's future. "Let's face it, John%Howard is not comfortable with climate change, but dealing with climate change is absolutely vital for our future.

"Mr Howard is about as comfortable with climate change as he would be in the mosh pit at a Silverchair concert."

Mr Swan said it was important to make sure that budget surpluses, thanks to the mining boom, were managed carefully.

But he declined to unveil Labor's response to Treasurer Peter Costello's new infrastructure fund announced this week, coinciding with the announcement of the $17 billion Budget surplus figure.

"When we see all the details, we'll have more to say on that," Mr Swan said.



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