Paul Keating

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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.

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. In his political career he became known for throwing inventive and caustic insults at his opponents.

Sourced[edit]

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.
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.
  • 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.
  • 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, 1990.
  • 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 mean (blowing lips), I mean he's going Mr Speaker, Mr Speaker, he's going troppo, he's going troppo, he's more to be pitied than despised, he's simply going troppo.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • You just can't have a position where some pumped up bunyip potentate dismisses an elected government.
  • [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 Thallium, 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
  • While 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.

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