Wednesday, March 22, 2006

# Posted 8:33 PM by Patrick Porter  

LARRIKIN POLITICS - BEFORE THE FALL: Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating facing a baying opposition in Question Time, circa 1992-3:

JOHN HEWSON (leader of the opposition): If you are so confident…why won’t you call an early election?

PAUL KEATING: The answer is, mate, because I want to do you slowly. There’s gotta be a bit of sport in this for all of us.

And he did. And charting his sad decline since. I'm glad that some of his legacy has been reversed. I’m glad the current government has reversed Keating’s foreign policy, realigning us back towards our traditional Australian-American alliance while remaining economically oriented towards Asia. And I'm glad trade unionism is no longer compulsory, and that we finally and belatedly recognised East Timor's independence after decades of appeasement towards Indonesia. But I still miss him.

(3) opinions -- Add your opinion

Not sure how fair the Bulletin article is. The Packers seemed to have had it in for Keating for years - PJK alleges its a result of him refusing to toe their line on media ownership and the like. Channel 9, particularly 60 minutes, pursued a story about a piggery he part-owned for years, but not sure (as in I didn't really follow the story to the end) whether they ever really uncovered anything, or were just muck-raking.

Interesting that the Joe Lyons Bulletin article you link to (also a Packer publication) came out just as a new round of debate and another ministerial review of media ownership laws was beginning. Keating was very critical of some of new proposals - alleging they weaken competition in the media market. And shortly afterwards, this hatchet job...

Sorry if this sounds like an attempt at 'nuance'. I know you hate that! Keating's legacy is very mixed - but he doesn't deserve the sledging he gets here.
Hello anonymous,

The Packer media network certainly is hostile towards Keating, and I don't doubt that the timing of this article probably relates to Keating's latest clash with them.

On the other hand, many of the statements in the article seem pretty reasonable to me. He has got bitter, dark and sour in his post prime ministerial phase. He is infamous for abusing journalists. He is consumed by hatred for Howard and his success (like many of those who aligned with Keating). His recriminations against everyone but himself in the Labor Party are well known, as someone who once spent some time in that organisation.

I mean consider this:

“He said, ‘Paul Lyneham took me on, and he’s dead.’ ‘Andrew Olle took me on, and he’s dead.’ I said, ‘Are you threatening me?’ and he said, ‘No’.” (Lyneham died of lung cancer; Olle of a brain tumour.)

If Jennifer Byrne is not lying, that is an unbelievably threatening statement. The Bulletin may have suspect motives for putting this out, but Keating has left them plenty of ammunition.
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