AAP BRISBANE: A prominent Labor politician has compared John Howard’s election tactics to a “miserable, enslaved and obsessed” character from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Opposition business manager Wayne Swan was commenting on the Howard Government’s use of the children-overboard affair to gain popularity before the federal election.

Addressing the Labor Party’s regional conference at Nambour in Queensland at the weekend, Mr Swan spoke of the Government’s “self-abasement in the pursuit of victory”.

He then referred to the character Gollum, from the Lord of the Rings movie.

“It’s made me think about what happens to those who will go to any length to gain one ring – those for whom anything goes,” he said.

“It is this kind of obsession that made Gollum into the creature he is – miserable and enslaved, but also extremely dangerous to those around him.

Dangerous to anything standing between him and his prize – in this case, accepted standards of honesty and decency in public life.

“It is always hard in politics to compete with people who are willing to say anything and do anything to achieve power.”

The Government has faced accusations of dishonesty for falsely claiming that boat people trying to illegally enter Australia threw their children overboard.