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

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:

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

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.

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

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

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



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

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.