With accusations flying around that Labor leader Kevin Rudd is a belligerent oaf, some topical goss reaches Crikey.

“I hear that last Monday Wayne Swan headed off to Los Angeles on QF 175 with a companion,” a deep throat says. “He booked economy and then asked to be upgraded. Unfortunately for him there were no upgrades available — in first or business class.

“Not happy with that response, Swan asked to speak with a supervisor who informed him that no upgrades were available and that all seats where taken. Swan then allegedly phoned Rudd and let fly about what was happening.

“Not long after Qantas received a call from Rudd’s office, and Swan and companion were mysteriously upgraded — appears two Qantas staff who had paid for their tickets were sent back to cattle class to allow a Swan to fly. One wonders if Mr Rudd is responsible for his staff in this circumstance?”

We put this story to Swan’s staff and were told:

  • Wayne Swan visited Washington, departing 9 Monday, April, returning Monday 16 April.
  • He was accompanied by Tim Jordan, policy adviser, office of Wayne Swan.
  • Both Swan and Jordan’s travel expenses, including flights, were fully covered by the ALP.
  • Unlike Treasurer Costello, the shadow treasurer has no publicly funded entitlement to travel expenses for international travel on shadow treasury business.
  •  Swan requested an upgrade at the airport, as did his office prior to departure, which was approved prior to departure.
  • No upgrade was requested for Jordan.

Crikey. We report, you decide.