Thursday, 31 March 2011

The wit and wisdom of Australia's greatest PM...

I'm speaking of course, of PJK, aka Paul Keating (though one could argue I suppose that his more lasting legacy has been his acts as Treasurer of floating the dollar, introducing compulsory superannuation, pushing the microeconomic reform agenda, and much more), who gave a great interview on 7.30 this week demolishing the NSW Labor establishment and reminded us once again of what Australia lost by dumping him as PM so prematurely in 1996.

Keating's astute observations on the issues of our day continue to provide a depth unseen amongst our current politicians or for that matter the media.

But he is of course particularly famous for his oratory, and we can at least take the occasion this week to recall some of his greatest moments, courtesy of The Punch.

My personal favourite remains the description of the Senate as unrepresentative swill (even more true today than ever before...).  But The Punch offers a few goodies, gems such as “painted, perfumed gigolos” (on Andrew Peacock), or “all tip and no iceberg” (on Peter Costello), “24-carat pissant” (Richard Carleton) or “like being flogged with a warm lettuce” (John Hewson), and invites others to suggest their own favs.

Do go read and enjoy.

Interesting that the comments over there suggest that even many (though certainly not all, his principled stands made him a polarising personality) of the haters seem to have come to respect him.

And try to remember what it was like to have an intelligent and principled politician in power (even if you didn't actually like him), one who made politics actually entertaining and engaging...


Anonymous said...

Well I never expected to see a piece on former PM Keating on a Catholic blog but it is great and I agree totally. Ive always believed Keating had vision, intellect and charisma (of an unusual type) that was cut short by the electorate. He was a man who knew that Australia had to be more involved in Asia and did so. He improved dramatically relations with Indonesia a state that most Aussies used to fly over on their way to the 'mother country'.
Keating had and still has a strong a viper-like tongue, but a lot of truth comes out in his remarks. He looks like an undertaker and I just wish he would smile more. But perhaps not necessary. Still he had and still has the great art for the apt phrase and comment - which makes for a memorable PM.
With three PMs after him he is still remembered most. Besides who can remember any memorable Howard of Rudd phrases?
But like all things political, you've opened a can of worms here and many will disagree.
I agree. :)

Kate said...

My conservative friends are, I imagine, just being kind in refraining from comment Adam, knowing well from past posts that I'm a (political) leftie from way back!

But there shouldn't really be any surprise in seeing PJK praised on a catholic blog - he fought hard for policies to make the lot of ordinary Australians better. And the arguments he used to make his case to his colleagues and more broadly were entirely consistent with, and indeed drawn from, Catholic Social Teaching.

Unsurprisingly, his political office was overwhelmingly made up of catholics.

There really shouldn't be any automatic alignment between traditionalists/conservatives when it comes to the faith, and our political positions.

Indeed, personally I've always found most Liberal-national party policies pretty incompatible with catholic social teaching, but others will beg to differ!