By DeusExMacintosh

PAUL Keating has mauled Labor’s likely new NSW opposition leader, John Robertson, accusing him of having no “moral authority” and warning that his ascension would put “lead weight” in Julia Gillard’s political saddlebags.

The former prime minister said Mr Robertson, a former head of Unions NSW, wore the political deaths of up to 25 NSW Labor MPs around his neck and was unfit to lead NSW Labor in the wake of Saturday’s election massacre. He warned that Labor’s loss of dozens of seats in NSW would have federal implications because the party had lost “fighting horsepower” in state electorates spreading from the Hawkesbury River to Newcastle.

His comments added to a growing chorus of criticism of Mr Robertson, with former NSW treasurer Michael Egan attacking the former transport minister for having treated Labor MPs with contempt by blocking access to parliament during a 2001 union blockade over workers compensation changes.

Mr Egan, one of NSW Labor’s most respected elders, said the former union boss was not worthy of the loyalty of his party colleagues. The rare public comments by NSW’s longest-serving treasurer came as bloodletting and infighting in Labor ranks following Saturday’s catastrophic election loss intensified and threatened to unravel long-standing internal faction deals.

But former Labor powerbroker Graham Richardson has backed Mr Robertson, praising him as “the one bloke” who stuck with Labor’s heartland – tradespeople, single mothers and pensioners – during Labor’s doomed final term.

In an opinion piece in today’s Australian, Mr Richardson said he did not believe Mr Robertson would ever be premier, but said he could win back heartland seats because he spoke the language of Labor.

Mr Keating made national headlines in 2008 with the publication of a letter he wrote to Mr Robertson, savaging him as a manipulator and opportunist who had brought down others to achieve his ambitions. He wrote that if Labor’s political stock ever sunk “so low” as to require Mr Robertson’s services as its leader, it would have no future.

Last night, interviewed on the ABC’s 7.30, Mr Keating said Mr Robertson had backed former Labor state president Bernie Riordan in crushing the leadership of former NSW premier Morris Iemma and was part of a group of political operatives who based their work on “sicko populism”.

“If you’ve actually connived in the destruction of the parliamentary leader and are a principal cause why 24 or 25 members of parliament have lost their seats in parliament, if those dead men and women are hanging around your neck, and they are, you’ve lost the vantage point of leadership, you’ve lost the point of moral authority,” Mr Keating said.

The Australian


  1. Posted March 31, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    OK…. so it’s Paul v Richo… who to trust might be saying something closer to the truth?

    Hmmm. They’d both kick heads, but Paul would do it in style, and in public (where we could appreciate it). Richo was certainly a headkicker, but worked behind closed doors, so we never knew what he said.

    I think even those who hate the ALP (and lefties, now two disjunctive sets) must admit the ALP produces the best oratory… with Gough and Paul masters of two completely different styles.

    I’m trying to think what Gough’s equivalent of Paul’s “I am ashamed to be a member of the same party as you” would be.

  2. henry
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    This is clueless. How is Keating immoral ?

  3. Posted April 1, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Knifing the bloke the people elected is never a good look, FWIW. Quite apart from the fact that Keating was a nasty, foul-mouthed bully. I must admit to breaking out the champers when Howard cleaned him up in 1996.

  4. Posted April 1, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    This is clueless. How is Keating immoral?

    If at first you don’t succeed in the Labor party… stab, and stab again! Sorry Henry, I have real and long-standing issues with Paul Bearer [evening scumbags…] he struck me as a political thug and a bully in power and went on to teach Tony Blair all of his worst practices of political spin for Britain’s “New Labour” party.

    I’ve always said that there is at least ONE person I’d be willing to put a bomb beneath and that is Keating. (Even though I cleaned up in soft toys on the kicking donkeys stall at the Ekka the year they painted politicians on the targets).

    Not fond.

  5. Posted April 1, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    I distinctly remember having to carry a large white polar bear well above the ground (for obvious reasons) for the rest of People’s Day. This in addition to the large toucan and bagful of medium-sized soft-toys DEM was carrying at the time.

    You amazed the guy running that kicking donkeys stall, DEM. I don’t think he’d seen anyone win a whole shelf of prizes before.

  6. Posted April 2, 2011 at 1:44 am | Permalink

    Shows you what suitable motivation can do – normally I couldn’t hit the ground with my hat.

    The giant toucan proved a useful bumper bar in those crowds even if I couldn’t see where I was going. =8-)

  7. Posted April 2, 2011 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    I started writing a longer comment but either it went through to you by accident or it got lost in the ether whilst still in a jumbled state.

    I’m with Henry on this. If you don’t like Keating, fine, but it really just smacks of cheap abuse.

    If the basis of the “immorality” claim is disloyalty to Hawke, that’s missing the point of to whom loyalty is required to be owed in politics.

    Of course PK is a terrific egoist. What leader isn’t? His style of performing that is another thing, but in this case it is in pursuit of a consistent political position re electricity privatisation. Whether you agree with that or not is a different question.

    It’s so easy to hate politicians. I do myself. Then I make exceptions for the people I know who have gone in that direction. I can see that (well, some of them) do have real skills which I would regard as “political,” even if they are also terrible go-getters and show-offs. Mostly they start from a position of apparent conviction.

    But in many ways I think it is rather childish to hate politicians, a bit like hating police – and I also hate police, even if, strangely enough, I overcome that hatred in the very rare occasions when I have wanted their help. Someone has to fulfil these roles. In the case of a politician, if one show-off go-getter did not, another one would.

  8. Posted April 2, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    I think PK at least stood up for the things he thought necessary, even if the public wasn’t on side – he’d never let the folk running focus groups tell him what to do – and I’d love to hear him ripping in to them behind closed doors.

    mind you, when delivering a speech he’d ordered, like the famous redfern one, the delivery and sentiment behind it were impeccable. But not in Gough’s league – no PM has ever been so eloquent an orator, even off the cuff.

    if we want to discuss immorality with rolling elected PMs, or trying to, Julia is worse (persuading rudd to take the position that undid him according to tanner), and of course… there is Big Mal: even some in his own party who one thought the way used to get power was outrageous.

    And can you disagree with his assessment of the character of the NSW right? Of the likes of Arbib? That assessment gets all ALP true believers and blue-ribbon Liberal Party types holding hands with each other for once in a lifetime.

  9. Nick Ferrett
    Posted April 2, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Menzies was a better orator than either of them.

    Whilst on one level I find PJK appalling, I have to admit that I’ve always found him entertaining. He is by far the most vicious attacker on the Australian political scene.

  10. Patrick
    Posted April 3, 2011 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Shame, apposite of the other thread, that Whitlam was such a racist pig. Give me boring Johnny Howard or plain Hawke anyday.

  11. Posted April 3, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Hawke is a serious contender for our greatest PM. Keating isn’t.

    On the other hand, endorse everything PK had to say about the ascendancy of John Robertson. The role of Andronikios Doukas at Manzikert comes to mind, though Doukas did not actually become emperor as a result of his disastrous treachery.

  12. Ross
    Posted April 3, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Lorenzo,neither Hawke of Keating are worthy of being the greatest of anything.They heralded in an era of economic rationalism which gave corporate power over our Govts.

    They were responsible for the sale of 4 state Govt banks and the Commomwealth.That was the beginning of our debt slavery.We have lost what little sovereignty we had to total corporate control.


  13. Patrick
    Posted April 3, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    hm, ok, so you would have preferred we take the South American model? Argentina and Venezuala are admirably independent (until the Chinese and Russians become debtors in possession…).

  14. Posted April 3, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Patrick, I’m a bit mystified by “debtors in possession.” How so? If creditors, then the Chinese (or rather, some Chinese) are creditors of pretty much everyone by now, and especially the US [or the Federal Reserve – that’s where my grasp of banking and money gets a bit vague, I confess].

  15. Patrick
    Posted April 3, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    I should hope that you are confused! What I meant to say was that although they are in a way not much more than the Chinese’ and Russians’ debtors in possesion…slightly different!

  16. Posted April 3, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    I’m with Henry on this. If you don’t like Keating, fine, but it really just smacks of cheap abuse

    My apologies Marcellous, I’ll try to make my abuse more expensive… 😉

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *