Page last updated at 10:36 GMT, Friday, 6 June 2008 11:36 UK

Vomiting Australian PM blames pie

Australian PM Kevin Rudd in Sydney
Mr Rudd's team ruled out a "dodgy" battered sausage as the culprit

Australian PM Kevin Rudd has said a simple stomach upset was blown out of proportion by speculation he is ruining his health through over-work.

His pale appearance at a conference in Sydney last month prompted reports that he might have cardiac trouble.

He said he had been hit by a vomiting bug after watching a rugby match, and blamed a pie he ate.

Mr Rudd has been dubbed "24/7 Kevin" because of his hectic work schedule since being elected last November.

Rumours circulated that the 50-year-old had suffered a minor heart attack after he looked unwell while making a speech at the New South Wales Labor Party conference on 3 May.

We've all had to drive the porcelain bus [clutch the toilet bowl and vomit] at some stage
Kevin Rudd
Australian prime minister

Mr Rudd said he had been struck down with severe stomach pains the night before, hours after watching his beloved Brisbane Broncos beat the Wests Tigers in Sydney.

His office initially told reporters Mr Rudd had eaten a "dodgy dagwood dog" (battered sausage) while watching the game but stadium officials denied having such snacks on the menu.

Mr Rudd this week said the cause of his illness may have been some other type of food, such as a "party pie".

On Friday, he told Sydney's Nova Radio: "We've all had to drive the porcelain bus at some stage."

The expression describes someone clutching a toilet bowl with both hands while vomiting.

Of his wan conference appearance, he added: "I looked a little more pale than normal. People assumed I was crook [sick] for other reasons."

Mr Rudd said he was amused by the "big debate", with the national media raising questions about his health for most of the week.

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