"With respect to asylum, a ‘persistently negative attitude’ towards asylum seekers was given expression through the introduction of mandatory detention in 1992 as a deterrent to boat arrivals. For example, Labor Senator Jim McKiernan, who served as chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Migration, went so far as to claim that if ‘the refugee assessment procedure was changed, Australia would be inundated, and boats filled with people, who can afford the fare and the bribes that go with it, will land on our shores by the score’."

— “Don’t go back to where you came from” - Tim Soutphommasane

"Keating believed (economic reform) should be extended to what he called the reform of our outlook. In his view, ‘the economic imperative and the cultural one can’t be separated – they have the same conclusion’. The destination was that of a new, confident, independent Australia – a nation ‘sure of who we are and what we stand for’."

— “Don’t go back to where you came from” - Tim Soutphommasane

"The first official use of the word ‘multicultural’ in August 1973 would signify the arrival of a revolution – not one of the sort identified with coups or wars, but of that species that Donald Horne called ‘revolutions in consciousness’. It came in a speech delivered by Al Grassby, the then Minister for Immigration in the Whitlam Labor government. ‘A multicultural society for the future’, as the speech was titled, offered a contemplation of what Australia would look like by the year 2000."

— “Don’t go back to where you came from” - Tim Soutphommasane

"Consultants have become possible because of the decline of the political parties,” Reese later explained to an interviewer, “and the consultant has made the parties even more irrelevant."

— “The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns”, Sasha Issenberg

"In fact, there were many things that Labor did to put Queenslanders offside, and these ranged from kangaroo shooting to Medibank. Although the latter scheme was put into effect by a Queensland Politician, Bill Hayden of Ipswich, and with considerable administrative skill, there was one big political hitch which offended Queenslanders and this was the proposed special Medibank tax levy of 2 ½ per cent. A Queensland Labor government had, decades earlier, introduced free general hospitals in Queensland. Now, under Hayden’s scheme, they were going to have to pay a special additional tax for something they thought they already had. Of course the injection of much more federal money would, eventually, mean better hospital facilities. But, in the short term at least, it smacked of Queenslanders subsidising southerners. On top of that, Queensland’s existing free hospital scheme – which often involved long delays in waiting rooms – made many people willing to accept the state government’s arguments that Medibank would mean even longer queues and further bureaucratic tangles."

— “Joh: The Life and Political Adventures of Johannes Bjelke-Petersen”, Hugh Lunn

"

Lindsay Tanner on Stiff:

“I came of age in politics in the 1980s, in the time and context in which the early Murray Whelan books are set. When I read them I recall things like sitting on an Administrative Committee inquiry into a Turkish branch which had numerous members supposedly living at the back of a small Turkish welfare centre on Sydney Road. And the western suburbs branch stacker whose explanation for the fact that the signatures on their membership applications didn’t match those in the attendance book was a wobbly table at the branch meeting.

"

—  “Stiff”, Shane Maloney

"

Lindsay Tanner on Murray Whelan:

“Long-term insiders like me can attest to the fact that Murray Whelan actually is the Victorian Labor party. The peculiar composite of naivety, cunning, decency and incompetence that’s reflected in Murray is like a pastiche of my experience in my thirty years as a party member. It’s a pity we can’t get Murray to stand for a real seat, because I reckon he’d make a great Labor Premier.”

"

— “Stiff”, Shane Maloney

"

Like all prime ministers, Chifley had a private phone on his desk—the number known only to his wife, senior colleagues and advisers. It was, of course, a silent number, but apparently was only one digit removed from the number for the butcher shop in the nearby suburb of Manuka. Occasionally, the phone would ring and when the Prime Minister of Australia answered, he would find a housewife calling, wanting to leave her meat order for the weekend. And what would Chifley do? Of course, he would simply take the order for the chops, the leg of lamb, or whatever, saying nothing to the caller except, ‘Yes, madam’, then when she had rung off, he would phone the butcher himself and say ‘It’s happened again’ and repeat the order. These days, it is impossible to imagine anyone getting through, by accident or not, to the Prime Minister unless first vetted.

David Day records that Ben Chifley, even as Prime Minister, drove himself between his home in Bathurst, NSW, and Canberra in his own Buick—his pride and joy. It was not even considered necessary that a bodyguard should accompany him on this journey. Jim Snow, former Labor MP for the southern NSW federal seat of Eden-Monaro, told the author that on Chifley’s drives between Canberra and Bathurst he sometimes changed his route and went through the small town of Crookwell, lunching at a café. On one occasion, he asked for steak and onions, but the waitress told him, ‘I’m sorry, Mr Chifley, we have no onions’. ‘Well’, said Chifley, thrusting his hand into his coat pocket, ‘here’s one’, and he produced an onion.

"

“Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” - Rob Chalmers

"Hawke was insensitive to the reaction of others to his words. As President of the ALP, he chaired a national conference in Perth, where it was apparent to all that he was bedding a female taxi driver. At 9 am one day, Hawke was at his place as chairman on the head table, obviously still the worse for liquor, and testy. In the presence of TV cameras and 300 or so delegates and observers in the hall, Hawke declared, ‘Delegates, you’ll have to stop wanking’."

— “Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” - Rob Chalmers

"Hawke was a bad drunk and, worse, refused to shout in turn. He was lousy. ‘Wouldn’t shout in a shark attack’, in the bar-room vernacular of the time."

— “Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” - Rob Chalmers

"John Menadue, CEO of News Limited’s Australian operations before heading the Prime Minister’s Department, wrote of Rupert Murdoch’s highly partisan actions in supporting the Kerr dismissal. In the gallery there was much discussion about Murdoch’s behaviour and News Limited journalists in Sydney held several stoppages as a protest against Murdoch’s stand. What was not generally known was the childhood connection between Fraser and Murdoch. Fraser’s father grazed the Victorian Western District property ‘Nareen’ and Murdoch’s father, Keith (later Sir Keith), owned an adjoining property. As small children, Malcolm Fraser and Rupert Murdoch shared the same nanny. With the crisis building, Menadue organised a lunch with Murdoch and News Limited head, Ken Cowley, in a Kingston restaurant on 7 November 1975. Complaining to them both about the coverage of the crisis, he told Murdoch he had cancelled his subscription to The Australian. ‘This didn’t put him [Murdoch] off his lunch,’ Menadue says. On 11 December, Menadue made a written record of the lunch five weeks earlier, and he wrote: Rupert Murdoch told many of his friends that Mr. Fraser had informed him that the Governor-General had given him [Fraser] an assurance that if he hung on long enough there would be a general election before Christmas…although I have no direct information. He did tell me, however on 7 November that he was quite certain there would be an election before Christmas and that he would be staying in Australia until this occurred. He was very confident of the outcome of any election and even mentioned to me the position to which I might be appointed in the event of the Liberal victory—Ambassador to Japan. Murdoch was right about that. Menadue was appointed as Ambassador to Japan and Murdoch could only have got that information from Fraser. When Murdoch later denied this account of the lunch, Menadue stated: ‘I stand by it.’ Having known Menadue well since the 1960s, the author has not the slightest doubt his was the truthful account."

— “Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” - Rob Chalmers

"On Whitlam’s official visit to Papua New Guinea, the press party got a taste of Whitlam’s quirky sense of humour. The Prime Minister’s party visited Mendi in the Highlands, where he was guest of honour at a spectacular gathering of the tribes. Warriors adorned in fantastic traditional dress danced and chanted in the ‘sing-sing’ display, while the Prime Minister’s party looked on. A tribal elder approached Whitlam and solemnly presented him with what looked like a club or a large walking stick, with elaborately carved snakes—a symbol of long life—and topped with a large knob. Whitlam turned to Walsh and asked: ‘What do I do with it, lean on it or strap it on?’ Unsurprisingly, the response produced muffled laughter from the press party."

— “Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” - Rob Chalmers

"The National Times published an interview with an American director of Morgan Stanley, Dudley Scholes, who referred to Cairns’ ‘girlfriend, Morosi’. Cairns claimed the remark gave rise to a defamatory imputation that he was ‘improperly involved with his assistant, Junie Morosi, in a romantic or sexual association contrary to the obligations of his marriage and to that of Miss Morosi’. Morosi told the jury: ‘I felt insulted, angry, upset and hurt. It was very demeaning to me as a woman [to be called a “girlfriend”].’ The jury found that the imputation did arise from the article in The National Times, but that it was not defamatory. Claiming the jury’s finding was perverse, Cairns and Morosi went to the Court of Appeal. Justice Hutley at one point remarked: ‘The fact that so intelligent and glamorous a woman as Miss Morosi [Mrs Ditchburn] developed a romantic interest in him may raise his standing in public eyes.’ Cairns and Morosi lost the appeals with costs awarded to Fairfax."

— “Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” - Rob Chalmers

"

With 27 ministers in the Cabinet, inevitably much time was wasted on repetitious debates and Whitlam’s exasperation was palpable. Moss Cass, a short, dark, intense man from the Victorian Left faction, was a medical practitioner before he entered Parliament. As Minister for Environment, Cass publicly advocated the decriminalisation of marijuana smoking.

About the same time, Cass’s wife (in the Melbourne Age) bemoaned the loss of conjugal rights the wives of federal parliamentarians endured. Soon after, at the weekly Cabinet meeting, Cass argued with Whitlam about some issue, telling the Prime Minister, ‘The trouble with you, Gough, is that you know nothing about the grassroots of the Labor Party’. Whitlam retorted: ‘Moss, you know a lot about grass and your wife apparently knows something about roots, but you know fuck-all about the grassroots of the Labor Party.’ Whitlam could be bitchy. Cass passed by Whitlam and Bill Hayden walking down the government lobby, and, nodding to Whitlam, Cass said: ‘Morning, Leader.’ Out of earshot, Whitlam said to Hayden: ‘I’m glad he spoke. Now we know his face from his arse.’

"

— “Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” - Rob Chalmers

"Graham Freudenberg’s skill as a subeditor played a part in the Fraser Government settling on Advance Australia Fair as the national anthem. Long before Paul Keating initiated the move to a republic, the Whitlam Government decided to ditch God Save the Queen as the anthem, arousing outrage among monarchists and joy among republicans. At the time, the feminist movement—with some influence on the Whitlam Government—had demanded political correctness and terms such as ‘chairman’ and ‘fisherman’ were to be avoided and replaced with ‘chair’ or ‘chairperson’ and ‘fisherperson’. But what to do about the words in Advance Australia Fair: ‘Australian sons let us rejoice’? ‘Australian sons and daughters, let us rejoice’ would be ridiculous. Perhaps only a complete rewrite would accommodate the feminists. Freudenberg removed the gender issue with the simple device of changing one word, ‘sons’, to ‘all’. So we now sing, ‘Australians all let us rejoice’."

— “Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” - Rob Chalmers