Tony Abbott is brushing aside reports Australia’s ambassador to France offered to resign after the prime minister’s staff asked his partner not to be part of an official welcoming party at a Paris airport.
Stephen Brady’s partner Peter Stephens was asked to wait in the car instead of on the tarmac to greet the prime minister on his arrival in Paris on Anzac Day, Fairfax Media reports.
Mr Brady reportedly refused to agree to the request.
A spokesman for Mr Abbott did not deny the incident had occurred but said: “The prime minister was very happy to be met by ambassador Brady and his partner when he arrived in Paris last month.”
Under standard protocol, partners are part of a welcoming party only when the prime minister is accompanied by their spouse.
Margie Abbott did not travel with the prime minister to Paris.
The ambassador’s offer to resign following the incident was rejected, Fairfax reported.
It’s believed Mr Abbott dined with Mr Brady and Mr Stephens while in Paris.
The embassy in Paris had no comment.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten said: “I sincerely hope this isn’t true.”