Man, I Miss Paul Keating.

August 24, 2007 at 2:28 am (Uncategorized)

I know it’s futile, so, so futile, to wish for a world other than the one that exists, but every single time I read an article or a speech or the transcript of an interview with former Labor prime minister Paul Keating, I almost fall off my chair with longing.

Australia didn’t properly appreciate Keating when we had him. Many people still don’t appreciate him now. But there are many of us, and I’m realising as this topic comes up more and more that there are even more than I suspected, who have long admired the man and really wish he was PM today. What a different Australia we would have now had he not been defeated by Howard, the man who has (almost spitefully, it seems to me sometimes) rolled back so many of Keating’s regional (as in Asian) and national cultural, economic, and strategic initiatives in the long, long years of his office. I was damn depressed the day Keating lost, and that was before I had any real appreciation of how I would come to revile the man who replaced him. It makes me want to cry.

So here’s a link to another of Keating’s bravura speeches, this time on the history of and proposed agenda for the forthcoming meeting of APEC. This is the full text. If you’re not up for that, an edited version appears on smh.com.au

Keating understood and embraced Australia’s position with the eye of a visionary – and I mean our actual position on the globe as well as our international standing – and he was succeeding in steering our interests where they belong when he was defeated. Goddamn it. Keating, we hardly knew you.

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