Paul Keating

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Paul John Keating (born 18 January 1944), Australian politician and 24th Prime Minister of Australia, came to prominence first as the reforming Treasurer in the Hawke government, then as the Prime Minister who pulled off an upset victory in the "unwinnable" election of 1993.

Sourced

  • From this day onwards, Howard will wear his leadership like a crown of thorns, and in the parliament I'll do everything to crucify him.
    • On John Howard's stint as opposition leader, February 1986, doorstop at old Parliament House.
  • If this Government cannot get the adjustment, get manufacturing going again, and keep moderate wage outcomes and a sensible economic policy, then Australia is basically done for. We will end up being a third rate economy... a banana republic.
  • Where members opposite all come a gutser is in the fact that members on this side all think that we were born to rule you. It has been ingrained in me from childhood to think that my mission in life is to run you, and the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) thinks that his mission in life is to run you. In fact, the labour movement-that is, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the great industrial labour movement of Australia-thinks that its mission in life is to run you.
    • Speech to Commonwealth Parliament, 1988
  • A dog returning to his vomit
    • Referring to Wilson Tuckey, 1990, after Tuckey repeatedly called out the name "Christine" in Parliament.
  • The Placido Domingo of Australian politics.
    • Self description, based on the assessment that Domingo's performances are "sometimes great, and sometimes not great, but always good". Press Gallery Christmas dinner, 1991.
  • It was we who did the dispossessing. We took the traditional lands and smashed the traditional way of life. We brought the diseases. The alcohol. We committed the murders. We took the children from their mothers. We practised discrimination and exclusion. It was our ignorance and our prejudice. And our failure to imagine these things being done to us.
    • 1992 The Redfern Speech, launching International Year of Indigenous Peoples
  • I would forbid him going going to the Senate, to account to this unrepresentative swill over there...
    • 1993 Parliamentary speech referring to the Senate, in contrast to the House of Representatives.
  • This is the sweetest victory of all. This is a victory for the true believers; the people who, in difficult times, have kept the faith.
    • 1993 election victory speech.
  • A familiar question for Australians is how much we are a product of our circumstances, and how much we are what we have made ourselves to be. In truth, by the act of migration the country was made: by that voluntary act and by the emigrants' ambitions it was built.
    • Address to the Dáil Éireann, the lower house of parliament of the Republic of Ireland, 20 September, 1993.
  • Don’t ask me any more questions about Mahathir. I couldn’t care less frankly whether he comes to Seattle or not next year. APEC is bigger than all of us – Australia, the United States, Malaysia, Mahathir – or any other recalcitrants.
    • Informal comment to the media at Seattle Airport, 22 November 1993.
  • We will not adopt the fantastic hypocrisy of modern conservatism which preaches the values of families and communities, while conducting a direct assault on them through reduced wages and conditions and job security.
    • Election campaign launch, February 14, 1996.
  • By the year 2000 we should be able to say that we have learned to live securely, in peace and mutual prosperity among our Asian and Pacific neighbours. We will not be cut off from our British and European cultures and traditions or from those economies. On the contrary, the more engaged we are economically and politically with the region around us, the more value and relevance we bring to those old relationships. Far from putting our identity at risk, our relationships with the region will energise it.
    • Election campaign launch, February 14, 1996.
  • In the end it's the big picture which changes nations and whatever our opponents may say, Australia's changed inexorably for good, for the better.
    • Concession Speech, March 2, 1996.
  • No choice we can make as a nation lies between our history and our geography. We can hardly change either of them. They are immutable. The only choice we can make as a nation is the choice about our future.
    • "A Prospect of Europe", 1997 speech at the University of New South Wales.
  • You just can't have a position where some pumped up bunyip potentate dismisses an elected government.
    • In reference to former Governor-General John Kerr. The Great Crash for The World Today book launch, 9 November, 2005.
  • [Australian Reserve Bank] Governor MacFarlane said recently when Paul Volcker broke the back of American inflation it's regarded as the policy triumph of the Western world. When I broke the back of Australian inflation they say, "Oh, you're the fellow that put the interest rates up." Am I not the same fellow that gave them the 15 years of good growth and high wealth that came from it?
    • 7:30 Report interview, May 8, 2006
  • Between 1999 and 2004 there was no investment in Australia, it all went into housing and consumption all borrowed on the current account. When Peter Costello runs around saying, 'Oh we've paid off the debt,' it's like the pea and thimble trick. The Government debt or the massive private debt abroad? It's continuing to grow.
    • 7:30 Report interview, May 8, 2006
  • The little desiccated coconut is under pressure and he is attacking anything he can get his hands on... (he is) still there araldited to the seat.
    • In reference to Prime Minister John Howard. ABC Radio interview, March 5, 2007.
  • All tip and no iceberg.
    • Referring to Treasurer Peter Costello, ABC Radio interview, March 5, 2007.
  • The fact is Burke is smarter than two thirds of the Western Australian Labor Party rolled together
    • Referring to disgraced former Western Australia Premier Brian Burke, ABC Radio interview, March 5, 2007.
  • For John Howard to get to any high moral ground he would have to first climb out of the volcanic hole he's dug for himself over the last decade. You know, it's like one of those deep diamond mined holes in South Africa, you know, they're about a mile underground. He'd have to come a mile up to get to even equilibrium, let alone have any contest in morality with Kevin Rudd.
    • ABC Radio interview, March 5, 2007.
  • He's a pre-Copernican obscurantist.
    • Referring to Prime Minister John Howard's attitude to industrial relations. ABC Radio interview, May 1, 2007.
  • Because in the end those kind of conservative tea-leaf-reading focus group driven polling types who I think led Kim into nothingness, he's got his life to repent in leisure now at what they did to him.
    • On Kim Beazley's ALP Leadership, Lateline interview, June 7 2007.
  • The Labor Party is not going to profit from having these proven unsuccessful people around who are frightened of their own shadow and won't get out of bed in the morning unless they've had a focus group report to tell them which side of bed to get out.
    • On the modern ALP, Lateline interview, June 7 2007.
  • Silly what's his name, the Shrek, whoever he was on the television this morning?
    • Referring to Howard Government Minister Joe Hockey, Lateline interview, June 7 2007.
  • He’s the greatest L plater of all time.
    • Referring to Treasurer Peter Costello, Lateline interview, June 7 2007. Lateline interview
  • Clodhopper
    • Referring to former Treasurer Peter Costello, launch of Unfinished Business - Paul Keating's Interrupted Revolution, August 6 2008. 7.30 Report Interview
  • I used to refer to him as thalion, a slow acting dope
  • This is a low flying person
    • Referring yet again to former Treasurer Peter Costello, 7.30 Report, August 6, 2008. 7.30 Report Interview
  • Well frenetic activity in the end suiting journos, running at the behest of little press secretaries does not pay off
  • The dogs may bark but the caravan moves on.
  • John Howard turned the prime ministership into something like a state police minister. He's at the scene of every crime, twice a day on radio, the guy did no thinking.

Unsourced

  • The accounts do show that Australia is in a recession. The most important thing about that is, is that this is the recession that Australia had to have.
    • Announcing Australia was in recession, late 1990
  • Economic racism.
    • On tariffs.
  • I only had one shot in the locker and I fired it.
    • After a failed leadership challenge against Bob Hawke.
  • Get a job. Do some work like the rest of us.
    • To a student protestor, 1995.
  • We're going to bolt it home.
    • Assessment of his chances at the 1996 election.
  • I like the Queen... and I think she liked me.
    • In response to the controversy caused when Keating placed his hand on Queen Elizabeth II's back during her 1992 Australian tour.
  • Like an Easter Island statue with an arse full of razor blades.
  • An abacus gone feral.
    • Description of John Hewson, then leader of the Australian Liberal Party (1993)
  • Hewson: I ask the Prime Minister: if you are so confident about your view of Fightback, why will you not call an early election?
    Keating: The answer is, mate, because I want to do you slowly. There has to be a bit of sport in this for all of us. In the psychological battle stakes, we are stripped down and ready to go. I want to see those ashen-faced performances; I want more of them. I want to be encouraged. I want to see you squirm out of this load of rubbish over a number of months. There will be no easy execution for you. You have perpetrated one of the great mischiefs on the Australian public with this thing, trying to rip away our social wage, trying to rip away the Australian values which we built in our society for over a century.
  • I was implying that the Honourable Member for Wentworth was like a lizard on a rock – alive, but looking dead.
    • On John Hewson.
  • This is the sort of little-boy, stamp your foot stuff which comes from a financial yuppie when you shoe him into parliament.
    • On John Hewson.
  • (His performance) is like being flogged with a warm lettuce.
    • On John Hewson
  • I'd put him in the same class as the rest of them: mediocrity.
    • On John Hewson
  • Can a soufflé rise twice?
    • On the second (1989) attempt by Andrew Peacock to gain the Liberal leadership.
  • I suppose that the honourable gentleman's hair, like his intellect, will recede into the darkness.
    • On Andrew Peacock
  • The Leader of the Opposition is more to be pitied than despised, the poor old thing. The Liberal Party ought to put him down like a faithful dog because he is of no use to it and of no use to the nation.
    • On Andrew Peacock
  • We're not interested in the views of painted, perfumed gigolos.
    • On Andrew Peacock
  • It is the first time the Honourable Gentleman has got out from under the sunlamp.
    • On Andrew Peacock
  • He, as Foreign Minister, was swanning around the United States of America with Shirley MacLaine or trying to crash one of Ted Kennedy's parties...and he was trying to play statesman...while he swanned around, and then he made a cowardly attack upon the former Prime Minister before slinking back into his cabinet.
    • On Andrew Peacock
  • You've been in the dye pot again, Andrew.
    • On Andrew Peacock
  • [Most politicians have] brains like sparrows' nests - all shit and sticks.
    • As quoted by Peter Botsman in a column in The Australian, July 3 2002
  • What we have got is a dead carcass, swinging in the breeze, but nobody will cut it down to replace him.
    • On John Howard.
  • The principle saboteur, the man with the cheap fistful of dollars.
    • On John Howard.
  • He's wound up like a thousand day clock.
    • On John Howard
  • I am not like the Leader of the Opposition. I did not slither out of the Cabinet room like a mangy maggot.
    • On John Howard.
  • Soon we will be at the stage where he will be offering us a free set of steak knives.
    • On John Howard's 1996 election campaign.
  • You boxhead you wouldn’t know. You are flat out counting past ten.
  • I'm not running a seminar for dullards on the other side.
    • On the Liberal Party
  • ...votes for coalition members who have always been cheats, cheats, cheats and will always be cheats, cheats, cheats and will always defend cheats, cheats, cheats..
    • On the Liberal Party
  • You were heard in silence, so some of you scumbags on the front bench should wait a minute until you hear the responses from me.
    • On the Liberal Party
  • The Leader of the Opposition hurls all sorts of abuse at me, and all through question time those pansies over there want retractions of the things we've said about them. They are a bunch of nobodies going nowhere.
  • You had an important place in Australian society on the ABC and you gave it up to be a pop star...with a big cheque...and now you're on to this sort of stuff. That shows what a 24 carat pissant you are, Richard, that's for sure.
    • To journalist Richard Carleton
  • ... you can't write a cheque for taste.
  • Sydney is the only place to live in Australia – the rest is camping out.
  • ...their existense is putrid. It is absolutely putrid.
    • On the National Party
  • Every now and then you have to flick the switch to vaudeville.
    • On leadership
  • Unfortunately I had to make him rich along with the rest of them.

External links

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