TOPLESS at Byron Bay are (from left) Sarah Renouf, Eloise James, Ashley McGraw, Brooke Harvey and Sarcha Braund.
TOPLESS at Byron Bay are (from left) Sarah Renouf, Eloise James, Ashley McGraw, Brooke Harvey and Sarcha Braund. David Nielsen

Nile takes aim at strapless tan girls

ASHLEY McGRAW and her friends don't sunbake topless at St Kilda beach in Melbourne, but they intend to get strapless tans while on holiday in Byron Bay for a couple of weeks.

Yet if some politicians in the NSW Parliament have their way, it could soon be illegal to untie their bikinis.

“Does anyone really care any more?” was Ms McGraw's response.

“As long as you don't do it near families with young kids, there is nothing wrong with it.”

However, it was revealed yesterday that conservative powerbrokers from all sides of State Parliament supported the ban proposed by the Reverend Fred Nile.

Local councils currently don't fine or prohibit topless bathers as they do not regard bare breasts as either nude or lewd.

Ms McGraw said people came to Byron because it had an international reputation of being laid-back and carefree.

“Tourists shouldn't have restrictions put on them about whether they can take off their tops,” she said.

State Ballina MP Don Page agreed.

He said he would not support any ban on topless bathing and doubted that, apart from a few supporters, the issue would be adopted by Shadow Cabinet - or the Parliament.

“I don't know why Fred Nile is pushing this, but I think we have bigger problems than topless bathing,” he said. “If people want to bathe topless then that's their rights. They just have to be a bit sensitive around children.”

Clarence MP Steve Cansdell was also dismissive of a ban.

“I'm not a nudist mate, but if people want to be topless on the beach it doesn't hurt too many people,” he said.

Even Julia Gillard, the Acting Prime Minister, scoffed at the idea. “As long as people know what the rules are and know what to expect I think it is a matter for the individuals involved,” she said.

What do you think?

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