"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

"

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

"US President John Kennedy was assassinated on 23 November 1963, one week out from the election at which Labor suffered a heavy defeat. The assumption, which I share, is that voters were alarmed by the Kennedy assassination in the Dallas motorcade, seeing it as a signal of the heating up of the Cold War. Many decided it was no time to risk a Labor government. Although he might not have won, Calwell would have made a much closer race of it but for the Kennedy shock."

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

"The Kingo was the venue for one of the most important conferences ever held in Canberra: the 22 March 1963 Special Federal Conference of the ALP. There were 36 delegates, six from each State—a form of federalism similarly embodied in the Australian Senate, which has an equal number of senators from each State. The conference was asked to consider whether the federal parliamentary Labor Party should support Menzies’ legislation authorising the construction by the United States of a naval communications station on North-West Cape in Western Australia. The External Affairs Minister, Garfield Barwick, described it as ‘a wireless station, nothing more nor less’. This was a cover-up. A wireless station, indeed! It was far more important than was portrayed by the Government. Together with other stations around the world, North-West Cape was a vital part of the US nuclear weapons program. These stations had the capacity to communicate with US Polaris nuclear-powered submarines capable of launching a nuclear missile strike against any target in the world and were at the very tip of US capability to deter nuclear attacks. The station at North-West Cape thus helped keep the Cold War cold, not hot. Within the Labor Party, it raised a question of national sovereignty over Australian soil. At the Kingston Hotel, the delegates debated the base legislation after Calwell had addressed it and then withdrew. Under ALP rules, the leader and deputy leader were not delegates and did not have a vote, yet they were required to carry out the decision of the conference. The conference was still debating well into the night and Calwell, impatient and accompanied by Whitlam and Freudenberg, left Parliament House to go to the hotel and join journalists waiting for an outcome. As Freudenberg recalls, on the stroke of midnight, the vote was taken narrowly accepting Menzies’ legislation, conditional on the base being jointly controlled and Australian sovereignty guaranteed. The Daily Telegraph published a bombshell picture of Calwell and Whitlam waiting in the dead of night outside the hotel for the vote. Menzies leapt on this to point out that Liberal MPs were not directed by anyone as to how they should vote. Labor MPs on the other hand were instructed by ‘36 faceless men’—a devastating term he coined."

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

"Then Hawke was door-stopped at a casino where, it seemed to some observers, he was under the weather. He told reporters that Downer would win the next election. Later he told reporters that he was prepared to take a lie detector test to prove that Keating had said Australia was the arse-end of the earth."

“Recollections of a Bleeding Heart” - Don Watson

Like I said at the time, the Rudd stuff wasn’t totally unprecedented…

"‘This is a victory for the true believers; the people who in difficult times have kept the faith, and for the Australian people through hard times, it makes their act of faith that much greater.’ He left no doubt that he was claiming it, in fact he might have been still campaigning. ‘It will be a long time before an Opposition tries to divide the country again.’"

— “Recollections of a Bleeding Heart” - Don Watson

"

Paul Keating on Modesty in 1987:

Keating: This is the great coming of age of Australia. This is the golden age of economic change.

Interviewer: How much credit do you take?

Keating: Oh, a very large part.

"

— "Shut Up and Listen and You Might Learn Something" - Edna Carew and Patrick Cook

"

Keating on politics:

“It’s the great vista of politics that is so appealing. You know, a finger in every pie. You’re always certain of your own motivation even if you’re never quite sure of anybody else’s. So if it’s a case of backing in somebody to do a job you might as well back in yourself.”

“You know me luv, downhill, one ski, no poles.”

“We’re all stressed. The game I’m in is lubricated by stress. Politics is the clearing house of pressures.”

“If you want to wear the belt, you’ve got to have the fights. And if you won’t have the fights, you’ll have the belt taken off you.”

“We are all given the field-marshall’s baton in the knapsack when we get our pre-selection. I got mine then and it is still tucked away” [1988]

"

— "Shut Up and Listen and You Might Learn Something" - Edna Carew and Patrick Cook

"

Keating on the Opposition:

“You were heard in silence, so some of you scumbags on the front bench should just wait a minute until you hear the responses from me…

You were in office from 1949 to 1983 bar three years…. And you left everything the way you found it. The place got old and tired and worn out, just like you are… For 30 years all we had was Black Jack McEwen trowelling on the tariff protection while he was kidding farmers he was representing them. And Liberal Party Treasurers, handed speeches by Treasury officials… they couldn’t even read the speeches, let alone comprehend the stuff. That’s how you ran the Commonwealth. The mandarins ran things… you wouldn’t worry about the detail. Because you NEVER ran the policy. You never RAN the place. We run the departments, we run the policy. We comprehend. We know.”

"

— "Shut Up and Listen and You Might Learn Something" - Edna Carew and Patrick Cook

"

Keating on Whitlam:

“It was a contest as to whether the heart on the sleeve outweighed the chip on the shoulder. There was certainly a shortage of cerebral ballast to maintain any equilibrium.”

"

— "Shut Up and Listen and You Might Learn Something" - Edna Carew and Patrick Cook

"

Paul Keating on the Aussie battler:

“These people, they live on the ebb and flow of the economy, like kelp on the seashore. They can’t protect, they don’t have the personal wealth to protect themselves from the ups and downs of the economy. We’ve got to protect them.”

"

— "Shut Up and Listen and You Might Learn Something" - Edna Carew and Patrick Cook

"

Paul Keating on the Left:

“What it boils down to is wider nature strips, more trees and we’ll all make wicker baskets in Balmain. Then we’ll all live in renovated terraces in Balmain and we’ll have the arts and crafts shops and everything else is bad and evil.”

“These people are trying to make my party into something other than it is… They’re appendages. That’s why I’ll never abandon ship, and never let those people capture it.”

"

— "Shut Up and Listen and You Might Learn Something" - Edna Carew and Patrick Cook