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Transcript of doorstop interview: Parliament House, Canberra: 6 February 2006: Senator Heffernan; Mark Latham.

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Wayne Swan MP Federal Labor Shadow Treasurer


SUBJECT: Senator Heffernan, Mark Latham

Swan: Look I just wanted to say a few words about standards - because in the last week or so John Howard was at the Press club talking about standards. John Howard ought to uphold some standards now and suspend Senator Heffernan. Senator Heffernan’s behaviour is simply appalling. It ought not to be tolerated and it is simply unacceptable. So let’s see some standards from the Prime Minister. Plenty to say about it last week. Let’s see what he says about it today.

Journalist: What do you expect from him?

Swan: I expect him to suspend Senator Heffernan. Appalling behaviour. Let’s see some standards from this Prime Minister.

Journalist: Is this a case of Bill Heffernan using his bully-boy tactics again - we’ve seen that he took with Barnaby Joyce last year?…inaudible…

Swan: Well, Senator Heffernan is a poster boy for Howard Government arrogance! It’s simply that. Senator Heffernan represents all that is worst in the Howard Government. And therefore, if the Prime Minister is serious about standards, he ought to be suspended.

Journalist: Is your complaint that he used the word ‘arse’ or that he is just generally pushy?

Swan: Well, as I said, he’s a poster boy for Howard Government arrogance. He rampages around the backbench thugging people. It’s about time the Prime Minister is serious about standards - and did something about them.

Journalist: But he generally only thugs Nationals.

Swan: I think he’s pretty indiscriminate. He’s done some appalling things to other Australians as well. I don’t intend to run through the history of Senator Heffernan.

Journalist: If he’s the poster boy for bad behaviour in the Liberals, is Mark Latham the poster boy for bad behaviour in the Labor Party with his charging yesterday?

Swan: Well, Mark Latham’s the past. I don’t propose to comment on matters before the courts.

Journalist: Some of your must sit up there and sort of chuckle to yourselves quietly?

Swan: I never chuckle about Mark Latham.

Journalist: Do you think it will hurt Labor in the community, that a former leader has now been charged?

Swan: No. The law must take its course and it must be applied fully and correctly.

Journalist: It seems to be coming back to haunt you thought every time, you know, seven months down the track that Mark Latham is in the headlines again and again?

Swan: There’s one thing that Mark Latham can’t do to me and that’s haunt me.

Journalist: But won’t it remind the community that you, that the Labor Party voted Mark Latham as leader?

Swan: Well, there’s been plenty that’s been said about that in past. I regard that as being in the past. We’ve moved on. It belongs in the past. He ought to be dealt with according to the law. Thank you.

ENDS Tues 7 Feb 06

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