Keating the maddie

Politicians come in three types – straight men, fixers and maddies. … I am certainly a maddie!

That or something like it was the grab used on radio to promote the final episode of the Keating interviews with Kerry O’Brien.


I was left wishing for more. I’d be interested in what he has to say about anything, but his comments on Labor since his time would have been especially interesting – even on Gillard/Rudd!

Laying the groundwork for the annual APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting will be an enduring achievement.

We were left with a haunting glimpse into the personal cost to Keating’s family life.

The earlier post is here.

I can still remember the fateful day on 2 March, 1996. I was mowing a lawn in Milton. There was daylight saving and by 5.20pm our time it was clear that an era had ended. Labor retained only 49 seats though the 2PP ended up 46.37/53.63. This time it was 46.51/53.49. The furniture disappears very quickly when you get into that zone!

10 thoughts on “Keating the maddie”

  1. Politicians come in three types – straight men, fixers and maddies. … I am certainly a maddie!

    But not straight women, evidently.

  2. Brian remember that Labor won the 2PP vote at the next election, though not the majority of seats. So the furniture did not disappear, it was just in storage.

  3. A straight man is a performer who feeds lines to a comedian.

    The other maddie Keating mentioned was Thatcher, who was neither a straight man nor a straight woman.

  4. Maybe Kerry should have asked ‘how much is a litre of milk’. However good to see the passion and the eyes light up – especially in areas like Mabo. Anyone know what the playout music was at the end of Ep 4??

  5. No, Abbott is a looney – subtle difference.

    Don’t care about Keating’s weaknesses, I want someone like him back!

    The pity of it is no Labor leader since Keating learned anything about politics from him.
    In fact they all seemed to be doing their best to be the anti-Keating, forever spooked by the straight man Howard and the continuously circling press gallery.

  6. Keating? Pfft …

    His contribution was an important part of what we have today. His regime gave us mandatory detention (under Gerry Hand). He broke up the BLF. He started off the wholesale privatisations. He gave us the Accord. He helped Murdoch get untrammelled control of the Australian media (and was temporarily rewarded for it until Murdoch decided he was a squeezed lemon. Howard, understandably for him, praised Keating.

    Keating was a competent rightwinger who knew (mostly) how to avoid looking crass in public, and for that reason, was a very effective enemy of working people.

    People see what is and are disgusted and so look with panglossian reverence back to a time when the ALP was near bullet-proof. They forget that it was Murdoch providing the shield and that this is what gave us today’s usages.

  7. Deborah/Katz, I think by straight men he meant straightforward and would have meant to be gender inclusive. Most of the female leaders in Australian politics have been fixers, eg Kerner and Gillard. Of the other recent Labor leaders, Beazley and Crean were straight, Latham and Rudd were maddies.

    Fran, I disagreed with a lot of what Keating did at the time, but changed my mind on some of it later. Not all privatisations were bad. For example, the Commonwealth Bank, CSL and Qantas were OK, IMO. I don’t agree with selling off monopolistic infrastructure or utilities like Telstra, Sydney Airport and electricity grids.

  8. Gentlefolk:
    The series of interviews with Paul Keating was excellent.

    I find Paul Keating a truly tragic political figure.

    A robust and intelligent and visionary leader …. with so much drive …. and yet so wrong in so many ways. What a pity it was that he didn’t take a few weeks holiday somewhere quiet, reflect on what he was doing and what were the knock-on effects of what he was doing, then return to the hurly-burly. .

    And then to be defeated by someone who was not only manifestly inferior to him but who then went on to inflict a dozen years of lost opportunities on all of us. Yes, Paul Keating is indeed a tragic political figure.

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