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Costello caught out on Labor's union stats

Posted October 21, 2007 19:15:00

Federal Labor says the Coalition's claims that 70 per cent of the ALP frontbench are union officials have come unstuck.

Treasurer Peter Costello last week stepped up his assault on Labor's union links, launching an ad targeting the number of ex-union officials in Kevin Rudd's frontbench team.

Labor's Craig Emerson says he features in the Liberal Party ad, but he has never been a union official.

"I have been a member of the union, I see the Liberal Party claims that I'm a member of the AWU [Australian Workers Union]," he said.

"I'm actually a member of the CPSU [Community and Public Sector Union]. They just cannot get it right.

"But the claim in the ad is that I am a union official - this is a false claim."

The Coalition says Mr Emerson has been named only as a unionist in the ad, not a union official.

The ad also names Labor's Wayne Swan as a former union official, but this morning in an interview on ABC TV's Insiders, Mr Costello conceded that Mr Swan was only a union member.

"Ok. But what do you say it is if it's not 70 per cent? 60 per cent? I saw the Labor Party said it was 60 per cent," Mr Costello said.

"A couple of them are not? Out of what, 30? Well ok, ok we can rest assured, because a couple of Rudd's frontbench are not former union officials. I will sleep easy tonight."

Tags: government-and-politics, elections, federal-government, political-parties, labor-party, liberal-party, federal-election-2007, australia

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