BASS Labor MHR Geoff Lyons has apologised publicly for calling his federal election opponent Andrew Nikolic a Canberra bureaucrat for the past 21 years.
But Mr Nikolic, a former army brigadier who was Australia's first armed forces commander in Southern Iraq in 2005, has not yet received a personal apology.
Mr Lyons made the gaffe when he was talking to year 11 and 12 students from Launceston's Newstead College, some of whom will vote for the first time at the September 7 federal election.
A transcript of the conversation obtained by The Examiner reveals Mr Lyons told the students that Mr Nikolic was a Bass candidate who had been a "bureaucrat in Canberra for the past 21 years in media".
Mr Lyons said yesterday that he had apologised for the error the day before and was interested in moving forward.
"What I want to talk about are the initiatives of the [federal] Labor government that we are very proud of," Mr Lyons said.
Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, who was in Launceston announcing his economic growth plan for the state, said he was pleased Mr Lyons had been forced to withdraw his remarks and apologise.
He said Mr Nikolic was far from Mr Lyons' description.
"Andrew is a very distinguished soldier who has served our country in uniform in some of the world's most difficult trouble spots - I am very proud of Andrew," Mr Abbott said.
He described Mr Lyons' remarks as part of Labor's national campaign of tricks and fibs.
Mr Nikolic said he would leave it to Mr Lyons to correct the record to the people he had spoken to at Newstead College.
Mr Nikolic was also deputy commander of Australia's military contingent in Afghanistan after the 9/11 US terrorist attacks, as well as serving in Iraq.