Apr 22, 2004

Annita Keating – a furious scorned woman

We knew Crikey took a strong line on Annita Keating's Bulletin expose in Wednesday's subscriber only email, but many of our subscriber thought we went too far. If you'd like to add some comments, send an email to [email protected]

We knew Crikey took a strong line on Annita Keating's Bulletin expose in Wednesday's subscriber only email, but many of our subscriber thought we went too far. If you'd like to add some comments, send an email to [email protected] In marriage it takes two to tango and rarely is one person at fault when it all goes pear-shaped, so there is something quite distasteful about Annita Keating viciously dumping all over her husband in The Bulletin.

However, after six years of separation, Crikey's resident family law expert (having carefully read every word in The Bulletin) believes Annita has shown a limited understanding of the break down of her own marriage. It is either that, or she is simply going all out to hurt her ex-husband which shows that she isn't really over it as she claims.

We'd like to think it's the former. There is no way this marriage came to an end by Paul's "stabbing" words to Annita that "the marriage was over" at a dinner party. A 23-year-old marriage doesn't end that way.

And Annita, were they private words to you? Or did Paul announce them to a party of twenty? We suspect the former. Funny how you spare us the details. Maybe you would like us to think the worst of Paul and a Packer outlet is never going to do your husband any favours?

If you are going to effectively dump on your husband and call him a callous, image-obsessed liar, why won't you give the reasons that Paul allegedly gave for the marriage break-up. When pressed by Byrne about why he "left", she only offers up the following: "Ask him. I don't know, why did he? I know really but I won't say."

After the "stabbing" words in Canberra, Annita moved to Woollahra and commented to Jennifer Byrne "My marriage was really over before I moved in here; he never moved our collection or anything..."

By moving to Sydney, they were clearly still trying to make the marriage work. Paul's stabbing words were not final and unilateral. We're sure Anita had a few words of her own to say on the matter and she hints at this with talk of doing her own thing.

If Keating is such a mongrel, how is it that they are still not divorced and Annita has use of the two multi-million dollar residences (Woollahra and the old John Laws place on the Hawksbury) that the piggery dealings paid for. Not bad for a hostie.

And what about Annita being "fearful" of Paul? We don't think so. Read the full Bulletin piece in context and she was "fearful" of making a public blunder and damaging her husband's image. The poor command of the English language was on full display in The Bulletin. Jennifer Byrne pushed Annita on this point and poor Annita couldn't help but stab Paul in the back in this disgracefully evasive way:

Byrne writes, "Later, I ask directly if she means it was Paul she was frightened of. "Well, I think in a way I was, yeah, looking back." Why? "Consequences, I suppose." Can you explain? "I think that says enough. You know, the way he was - you were frightened to do, in his eyes, the wrong thing."

Paul commented that he was "saddened" after reading the piece. So are we. Mastering spin takes many years and Annita has a long way to go. She'll regret this very much in years to come.

A close friend of Paul Keating who shares his enthusiasms tells Crikey that he "has been depressed ever since the break-up" and "is still (well, maybe not any more) madly in love with Annita despite seeing someone else".

The friend says that Annita won't even speak to Paul except on business matters. Now she's kicked sand in his face through the very same Packer media empire that tried to destroy Keating's reputation with the 60 Minutes piggery attack in 1998.

"Of course Paul is demanding and a perfectionist but he has never been less than interesting and lively, although lots of the puff has gone out of him in recent years," the puzzled friend told Crikey today.

Can anyone explain why on earth the woman known in some circles as the Ice Queen has chosen this brutal course?


What the papers said:

The Australian had an interesting follow-up repeating the line that Paul Keating was devastated because he was still besotted with Annita.

The News Ltd tabloids also weighed in with Annita professing to be very happy whilst Paul was calling the police to stop the bothersome hacks from pounding his intercom.

Malcolm Farr took a sympathetic line for Paul Keating in The Daily Telegraph, expressing doubts about what Annita was claiming.

The Age said Don Watson had great trouble dealing with Annita when he was writing Paul Keating's biography.


And we've been sledged by subscribers for going in too hard:


You haven't been divorced. I had an amicable divorce and we remain friends - but Annita holding it in for 6 years and having been on the front page of every paper and leading every news bulletin during the break up would have been horrific and bloody hard. You can't even hold your breath when one article is done on you - and it's tame in comparison.

You are right - there are two sides - to date there has only been Paul's.

I think your attack on Annita is way too hard. And I hope you never get divorced and never find out what its like.

No Name


Your comments are quite a nasty piece of speculation, particularly the uncomfortably patronising comment that Mrs Keating has a 'limited understanding of the breakdown of her own marriage'. This may just be poor phrasing on your part, but I would suggest she would have a more nuanced understanding of the conditions of her own domestic life than a spectator, wouldn't you? While her account of Keating is less than flattering, and is right up there with Gabrielle Gwyther's sour grapes, I'm pretty disappointed that your commentary is so abrasive.

Michelle Callander


I was relying on you to say it and you did, well done. Bad enough that the Bully piece was done, but much worse that Channel 9 led with it in Sydney on the 6pm news on Tues night.

It stinks of payback and smear.

And what of Jennifer Byrne's role in this? Hasn't she had a small taste of this treatment with her own marital troubles running in the media a few years back.

I wonder what Max U is going to make of all this?



You should refrain from comment on this one, Mrs Keating's lack of media finesse notwithstanding. You have no idea what the Keating household was like internally (and neither do I). I found the tone of
your comments surprisingly offensive, which is very unusual for me. It sounded like you wanted to protect Paul Keating from his wife. Very strange.

Gary Price


She is past her 'use by date' and is now trying to gain some sort of media exposure about something that happened years ago. Paul has always been very reserved and private about their break-up, who left who, ........she should take a leaf out of his book. One has to wonder if she has been reading too much about David Beckham and his antics, seen the coverage it has received, the promised $$$$$'s and though "Why not me?"



Very sad to see this story emerge. As you say there must be more to it and why wait so long to 'vent'.

Paul Keating may well be perfectionist and demanding - as I am myself - and he most definitely is, as you say, never less than interesting and lively.

I also happen to believe him to be a sensitive, caring and loving human being and an outstanding Australian.

His capacity and character as a man of substance and integrity will continue to be evident in the way he deals with this very unfortunate and most unfair representation of his relationship with his wife.

Brian Galbraith



No idea what motivated Annita, and I don't think there is any sense in looking for editorial responsibility or integrity at The Bulletin, but what on earth motivated Jennifer Byrne? I suggest you concentrate on what led a respected and politically savvy reporter to extract and write up the sad and confused utterances of Annita at a time when interest in the marriage break up is either historical or prurient.

James McDougall


Well Crikey, I would suggest unless you were in the same house with the Keatings when all this was happening, that you should step back from your extremely biased comments. It sounds very much like someone at Crikey is a personal friend of Paul's, particularly with very targeted comments like 'Can anyone explain why on earth the woman known in some circles as the Ice Queen has chosen this brutal course?'

This has done nothing but produce what sounds like a very personal attack, as opposed to an opinion with credibility, on someone who has had what most sensible people know is the unenviable role of being the spouse of a high profile person. You lost my sympathy when you criticised her use of English!

Don't you think you're being a bit obviously sensitive? Paul Keating can surely defend himself - he certainly didn't have any problems doing this when he was Prime Minister.

Come on Crikey, fess up! What's your personal interest in this one?

Christina Murphy


You sound pretty biased yourselves with all of this and show no understanding of emotional entanglements and power differentials in marriages, particularly with bossy, foul mouthed politicians.

So maybe she has done well for an ex-hostie, but so has Paul, I believe a lad from very working class roots who had no real money of his own. Where did he get his money from, not from parliament, Prime Ministers are not that well paid compared to business CEO's and they do run the country, not some piggery.

You are too kind to Paul!

A bit of balance wouldn't go astray. You sound like dyed in the wool Labor to me and as macho as any abusive male.



Going public with the breakdown of a marriage in this way is pretty awful stuff, but your jibe about her current circumstances in life being "not bad for a hostie," is undeserved. Is her sharing of the family properties any less of an issue if she'd been a doctor or independently weathly when they met? Or perhaps the implication is that being the mother of four kids and being a politician's wife isn't a job? We could add that the accumulated wealth is not bad for a working class boy from Bankstown, but of course that is hardly the point either.

Keep up the good work.


Oh gimme a break - Crikey must have seen Paul Keating in action in Parliament and elsewhere, showering people in vitriol & skewering those who fell short of his somewhat quirky standards of competence. You don't get that good at being unpleasant without a deal of practice at home as well as at work. Fear of humiliation is just as hard to deal with as fear of a smack across the chops. Annita Keating's public airing of private matters might be tacky, but Paul Keating as a paragon of sweetness & light... in the immortal words of Private Eye, shome mishtake shurely.


Crikey wrote: "Can anyone explain why on earth the woman known in some circles as the Ice Queen has chosen this brutal course?"

Can anyone explain why on earth Crikey has chosen this brutal course?



Get off your high horse. You should know better than to buy into other people's marital problems.

Tom Byrnes


I don’t actually care but you are showing more about your by your words “not bad for a hostie”. Grow up Mr Crikey.

Free Trial

You've hit members-only content.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details