Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan was not convinced that former Labor leader and now Australia's ambassador to the United States Kim Beazley would speak ill about his own party.
"He didn't say that Labor is doomed," the deputy prime minister said in an interview with ABC on Tuesday.
Mr Swan was reacting to a report ran Tuesday by The Herald Sun, in which Mr Beazley allegedly provided a bleak assessment of Labor's chances of retaining government power after the national election in late 2013.
According to the News Ltd publication, Mr Beazley told a forum of ranking American and Australian officials that Labor is likely to end up with just 30 seats at the House of Representatives, which has been the grim picture being painted by series of nationwide polls since 2011.
The paper described Mr Beazley's opinion of Labor's political prospect as "deeply pessimistic."
Also, the one-time Labor headliner, who led the party prior to the ascension of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, reportedly informed the forum attendees that circulating rumours about the likelihood that Prime Minister Julia Gillard will be replaced was moot and academic.
"He was suggesting it was that bad, that it didn't matter anymore who was leading the party," the newspaper quoted one source as saying.
The Herald Sun said its source was connected to the U.S. State Department.
However, the News Ltd paper reported too that Mr Beazley refused to comment on his alleged observations, which were made a few weeks ago.
"As an ambassador, I don't comment on Australian politics ... What is said at the dialogue stays at the dialogue," The Herald Sun quoted Mr Beazley as saying on Monday night.
For his part, Mr Swan insisted "it's my understanding the report today is not an accurate reflection of the discussions held in a closed meeting."
What was reported, he added, "is not an accurate reflection of what occurred in the meeting."
It was reported too that present cabinet ministers and Coalition members, most notably Shadow Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, were among the estimated 50 persons that were present at the annual forum.
It is likely, according to Trade Minister Craig Emerson, that somebody from the opposition leaked the information that became the basis of the News Ltd story.
In an interview with Sky News, Mr Emerson noted that that this was not the first time that leaks from otherwise confidential meetings were provided for public consumption and he can only point fingers to the usual suspects.
"I don't know what's going on but what I can say is that if the Coalition is in the room you can't trust them," the Labor frontbencher asserted.
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