November 12, 2004


Paul Keating reminds me why I was a Labor voter throughout the '80s:

In a fiery defence of Labor's opening up of the economy in the 1980s and 1990s, Mr Keating crowed that ordinary Australians now had cheaper cars, higher wages, near-full employment, and easy access to home loans and the stock market.

"You can't believe that we still have critics for this policy," he said.

"I used to say to some of my colleagues in the current Opposition who wanted to go back to sort of centralised wage fixing 'why don't you tell people (they) have got a 20 per cent real increase in incomes?'.

"Oh yes, but that's not their perception (they said). Well it's handy to let them know. And it's not a bad reason for the policy."

Mr Keating scorned critics who have cast Labor of the 1980s and 1990s as "not really Labor governments" or "Labor fakers of some kind who passed the parcel on government and the markets".

"You can buy a reasonable quality small car for under $15,000 today," he said. "(Before tariff reduction) that would have been nearer to $30,000."

Materialism was under attack for hollowing out social values, however Mr Keating said: "One has to ask, will people have better values and be better put together if their car costs twice as much?

Good point.

Posted by Tim Blair at November 12, 2004 11:18 AM

Keating/Hawke did have one big advantage over Howasrd (until now) - non-obstructionist Senate as the Coalition passed all these reforms that Keating wants to take the credit for. He does have a good point though; and if it wasn't for the "recession Australia had to have" I might actually think positively of the guy....

Posted by: HippyHunter at November 12, 2004 at 11:27 AM

Keating says role of govt is "steering the boat not rowing it" - something the LNP are now doing and Latham is undoing - its what the voters want, to have the opportunity to make their own decisions.

Posted by: rog at November 12, 2004 at 11:52 AM

Keating was a great Treasurer, even though he stole most of his ideas from Howard. Unfortunately he was crap as PM after discovering "the vision thing".

Posted by: Greg at November 12, 2004 at 12:23 PM

Didn't Keating originate the 'asian' direction of Australian foreign policy?

Posted by: Dan at November 12, 2004 at 12:31 PM

Keating is wrong again.

The purpose of the government is not to steer the boat. The purpose of the government is to stop people from rocking the boat or sinking the boat.

Posted by: amortiser at November 12, 2004 at 12:46 PM

Materialism was under attack for hollowing out social values, however Mr Keating said: "One has to ask, will people have better values and be better put together if their car costs twice as much?

Some people would seriously answer "yes".

Posted by: Andjam at November 12, 2004 at 12:47 PM

I'll raise you Tim. I voted for Gough (undoubtedly the most incompetent and dangerous PM that Australia has ever suffered) and then paid for my temerity as a Canberra PS who had to assist in implementing many of his insane programs/policies. What followed wasn't much better, until Hawkey came along, but I'd been once bitten at that stage. I always thought that the Silver Bodgie was really a closet Liberal at heart - as long as his minders kept him away from the booze and the women. When RJ turned his back a little to often and retired with enough cutlery in his rear to stock the Sydney Hilton it was back to la-la land. With the Pig Farmer (Keating) accession, we Canberra minions became firm believers in déjà vu and stress-related retirements went off the graph.
It's always tickled me that the last two Australian Labor Prime Ministers came to office with the (figurative) arse hanging out of their strides and retired as millionaires. For those Lefties who would dispute this, I refer them to that most unimpeachable source, John Pilger (cough, cough, spit, retch, etc.) who does a great job of letting the cat out of the bag in, "A Secret Country".

Posted by: Boss Hog at November 12, 2004 at 12:49 PM

It's a pity the article didn't mnetion his comments on the Reserve Bank (I think he was critical of them targeting 'prices of inner city Sydney apartments'). He's one to lecture on monetary policy....18% interest rate anyone?

Posted by: Art Vandelay at November 12, 2004 at 01:30 PM

Paul Keating is the guy partly responsible for all the luvvie chasing the ALP has indulged in.

Posted by: Quentin George at November 12, 2004 at 03:20 PM


Paul Keating made me learn Japanese in primary school... HA! Well their little attempt at brainwashing every kid born in the '80's didn't go so well cause I now vote liberal so eat my shorts :P

Posted by: Will S at November 12, 2004 at 04:44 PM

And we still had crap cars... made me learn stuff the only time id ever need it was reading instructions on a 2 minute noodle pack while we were driving around in a bomby old ford and pouring powdered milk on our breakfast. Couldn't afford real milk NO!!! but hey, I could speak japanese !
... way to go keating...

OK im finished now ...

Posted by: Will S at November 12, 2004 at 04:47 PM

Keating did have the gumption to make those reforms whilst the Frazer government had sat on it hands.

Latham and Crean were awlful quiet selling Labor's economic creditials by means of the Keatings years. It could have been they felt snookered in that any praise for Keating flows to Howard, since Libs have kept the economy good.

Personally, I was worried that their silence was because they wished to wind back those reforms. And yet, I listen to people try and say that the condition of the economy is independant of any government.

Posted by: madison at November 13, 2004 at 12:36 PM

As I've said once before,"The Placebo Domdingo of Aust. Politics" He and his party still don't get it.The left in his party has made a career of making people dependant on social security and they wonder why we have social disintergration.
We all need discipline and an objective in life that will take us beyond our own immediate self indulgence.

Posted by: Ross at November 13, 2004 at 08:48 PM