Anthony Albanese’s 23-year-old son has earned a spot in the “most exclusive club in the country”, receiving a pass into Qantas’ invite-only Chairman’s Lounge.
Uni student Nathan Albanese, who happens to be the son of the Prime Minister and his ex-wife Carmel Tebbutt, has been deemed worthy of the near top-secret club of high flyers by Qantas boss Alan Joyce, according to the Australian Financial Review.
AFR Rear Window columnist Joe Aston described the gift as “the stuff tinpot African republics are made of”.
It is understood the Qantas CEO personally curates the lounge’s membership list, which is reportedly a veritable roll-call of Australia’s top CEOs, A-list celebrities, and politicians – and, now, Albo’s son.
“But did any of them really think a university student sweeping into the Chairman’s Lounge like a lord wouldn’t stand out like dog’s balls?” Aston asked in the column.
That said, it is not just Nathan Albanese’s membership that raises eyebrows but the fact his Prime Minister father did not declare it in his latest statement of registrable interests.
However, Aston notes, Albo may argue he does not have to do so given his son is not technically a “dependent”. News.com.au can verify Nathan is not listed as a “dependent” on his father’s latest statement.
“Irrespective of the sophistry relied upon, his son has received this benefit only because of his father’s position. It should be declared, especially by the guy who was elected on an integrity platform,” Aston writes.
He also points out the Labor leader’s “incredibly tight” relationship with the flying kangaroo’s outgoing boss.
News.com.au has approached the Prime Minister’s Office and Qantas for comment about these revelations.
The Chairman’s Lounge offers the highest level of service possible for a Qantas customer, eclipsing the airline’s Platinum One membership.
Mr Joyce once described it as “probably the most exclusive club in the country”.
It is not possible to buy a membership and Qantas only recently acknowledged the lounge’s existence on its website.
Details of the club’s features and perks are largely kept secret, though we know they include seat upgrades and unlimited food and alcohol in an unassuming corner of the airport, tucked away from the other travelling riffraff.
There are six lounges, secluded at the airports in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra for members to enjoy the peace and quiet.
Given the Qantas boss is the one who reportedly decides who can hang out in the lounge, he also decides who is out.
Former conservative senator Fraser Anning was dropped from the membership list in 2019 after he was dramatically censured in the Senate for his comments on the Christchurch terror attack.
Earlier this year, veteran shock jock Alan Jones reportedly lost his Chairman’s Lounge privileges – which he had held since 1985, even retaining it after the Cronulla riots – for not meeting particular “criteria”.
Jones was informed he had been cut from the list via an email, the Sydney Morning Herald reported in May this year, after a review that, essentially, deemed him irrelevant.
“When a member ceases to remain in a role for which Chairman’s Lounge membership was provided or a current commercial arrangement with Qantas is not in place, membership is reassessed against our criteria,” the email read.
It is not clear what the particular criteria to gain a membership is – news.com.au has asked Qantas for clarification.