'Wayne's destined for the top job'
YOU’D have been hard pressed to wipe the smile off Max Swan’s face yesterday after learning his nephew Wayne had become the nation’s second-in-charge.
As the high drama of the Labor leadership spill unfolded in Canberra, the spritely 82 year old uncle of the Treasurer and now Deputy PM could barely contain his glee at the Swan ascendancy.
But as Max tells it, his nephew – who used to spend Christmases on the Swan farm at Junabee – was always destined for politics and he’s now just one step away from his childhood aim of sitting in the Prime Ministerial chair.
“I’m pretty proud of him – well, wouldn’t you be?” Max said with a grin.
“When he was a lad he always said he would be Prime Minister one day and we used to have a bit of a laugh at that.
“He’s determined all right and clever – he came the top of his school and he used to do all kinds of jobs to get himself through university.
“His mum and dad, well they never had a big cheque book – he’s done it all himself.
“He will be Prime Minister himself one day, there’s no doubt about that.”
Max said it would have been “marvellous” if Wayne’s late parents – Morris and Maida Swan – had still been here to see their youngest child, who grew up at Nambour, elevated to the post of Australia’s 2IC.
“They were good people and they struggled at times, like everyone,” Max said.
“We’ve never been a family which has been one way or the other (politically) and I’m a swinging voter, I vote for whoever I think is the best.
“Politics used to get talked about a fair bit but Wayne’s the first one to go into it.
“A few people told me over the years I should have gone into it but it wasn’t for me.”
Max said that despite his nephew’s image as one of the ‘hard men’ of Australian politics, Julia Gillard’s new deputy had a soft side.
“All the Swans do you know,” he laughed.
“He came to see me twice when I was in hospital in Brisbane last month and we talk on the phone at times but he’s a pretty busy bloke.”
Max – who acknowledged the one-time rivalry between his nephew and the outgoing Mr Rudd – said he was just as surprised as the rest of the nation at the speed of the ALP leadership transition.
“There was no inkling of it, it was very quick,” he said.
“To be honest, I wasn’t that keen on Rudd – Wayne and Julia are just ordinary people, they’re more down to earth.
“I think (the leadership change) is a good thing for Labor, I reckon they’d have gone out if they’d stuck with Rudd.
“But yes, I’d like to see Wayne as PM some day and I’m pretty sure he will be.”