When Euromoney magazine rang Paul Keating to tell him that Wayne Swan was about to be named its finance minister of the year, his reaction was less than overjoyed.
Euromoney‘s Eric Ellis claims Keating, who won the award back in 1984, told him “to just f-ck off” and “I couldn’t give a f-ck”. He then told Ellis to go to “buggery”.
However, the notoriously volatile former PM eventually calmed down and offered up some (faint) words of praise for his Labor comrade.
Swan, he said, stood out for “his ability to comprehend danger and act decisively to minimise it” in the wake of the 2008 Lehman Brothers collapse.
Keating singled out Swan’s decisions to guarantee bank deposits and splash on stimulus as crucial in helping Australia to avoid recession during the Global Financial Crisis.
“If the proof of the pudding is in the eating, Wayne Swan’s treasurership brought us through this profound crisis,” he said.
As for former treasurer Peter Costello, Euromoney claims he is “privately chagrined” that he never got the gong and that he “seizes every opportunity to pan the award”. Costello declined the magazine’s invitation to comment on Swan’s triumph.