FORMER treasurer Wayne Swan says he is "neither surprised or worried" by claims by Kevin Rudd that his initial appointment to the treasury portfolio was "one giant joke".
The former prime minister makes the claim in his new book, to be released today, suggesting then-Opposition Mark Latham appointed Mr Swan shadow treasurer in 2004 as "a joke on the party" done to create problems down the line.
"He would bequeath Swan to his successor as a permanent Achilles heel, entrenched in the position once it had been given to him, simply because Swan's factional strength would make it impossible to remove him," Mr Rudd wrote.
Mr Swan said that he was not bothered by the claims. "Fighting inequality is much more important to me than fighting with former colleagues," Mr Swan said. "Anybody with Labor's interests at heart will take the same approach."
It is the latest example of antagonism between the two Labor luminaries. In Mr Swan's own book, published in 2014, he said Mr Rudd had an "unstable personality" and his "treatment of people was extraordinarily vindictive and juvenile".
Mr Swan was treasurer from 2007-2013 and deputy prime minister from 2010-2013 under Julia Gillard after she deposed Mr Rudd.
Mr Rudd said in his book he asked for the treasury portfolio, but was denied by Mr Latham due to perceived "treachery" in the election campaign.
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