Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan has responded to a television report that former Liberal treasurer Peter Costello last year raised the possibility of a return to federal politics.
ABC TV has reported that Mr Costello, who resigned as the member for Higgins in October 2009, asked his old friend Michael Kroger to see whether a sitting member might vacate their seat so he could return to Canberra.
The conversation purportedly took place before Christmas last year.
But Mr Costello told ABC TV no such discussion took place. He reportedly said talk of a comeback was payback over an ugly internal brawl over the Victorian Senate ticket.
Nevertheless, Mr Swan on Wednesday night used the news to attack the coalition's current economic team of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, shadow treasurer Joe Hockey and opposition finance spokesman Andrew Robb.
"Costello pitch-up no great surprise given the 3 stooges in Libs economic team have trashed Libs eco credentials," the treasurer tweeted on the micro-blogging site Twitter.
Mr Costello, a Victorian, was federal treasurer from 1996 until 2007 under then prime minister John Howard.