2 Aug 2010

Dirty tricks accusations in Australia's election campaign

8:20 am on 2 August 2010

Accusations of dirty tricks are flying between the two major political parties in Australia ahead of the general election on 21 August.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has accused the Coalition of a "disgraceful political attack" against former prime minister Kevin Rudd after a story published on Sunday claimed he leaked against his own party.

The ABC reports she has dismissed claims from the Coalition that Labor is mounting its "smear campaign" against Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

Ms Gillard has not, however, denied reports that Labor has been giving journalists lists of past quotes made by Mr Abbott on issues such as industrial relations, climate change and abortion.

"They're quotes of Mr Abbott, they're things that he's said," she said.

"We make his words available. If he's embarrassed by them that's too bad. He said them."

Opposition frontbencher Andrew Robb says Labor is conducting a smear campaign against Mr Abbott.

"With their campaign in trouble Labor's hard men have decided to get dirty, attacking Tony Abbott personally rather than defending their own failed policies," he said.

Mr Rudd is still in hospital recovering from having his gall bladder removed.