Jane Nethercote and Sophie Vorrath write:

John Howard: “…I believe that we can proceed with the sale, confident the Australian community can only benefit from this sale.” – The backbench do what I tell them to.

John Howard: “I have been surprised by the level of public disquiet – it’s turned out to be much greater than I expected” OK, so maybe the backbench don’t do what I tell them to.

John Della Bosca: “The Commonwealth, in particular the Prime Minister, might have demonstrated that they can be popular and populist, but the other obligation of leadership, or the other obligation if you’re the Prime Minister, or even a humble minister in a state government, is leadership.” – I wish I was popular.

Peter Costello: “…the Commonwealth Government has offered for sale its interest in Snowy Hydro and that sale will go ahead. You have got to bear this in mind. The Commonwealth Government is only a minor player in this.” – When it all comes unstuck, don’t come crying to us.

Bill Heffernan: “This will be a people decision. And if people – you get what you deserve in this life – if people make enough noise with their local members, we will get this locked up for all time so that no foreign company will own it.”This is Howard’s decision. If he loves me enough it won’t get up.

Morris Iemma: “It’s off! The PM has … pulled the rug on the sale.” – The PM has scr*wed us over.

John Brumby: “The Snowy hasn’t been sold yet. Accordingly, there’s been no budget revenue booked from that … There’s no budget black hole.” – We’re scr*wed.

Steve Bracks: “We will not be proceeding with the sale of the Snowy Hydro. We were the reluctant bride.” – The wedding’s off. Too bad we’re already up the duff.

Kim Beazley: “You’ve done a backflip on this, and you’re prepared to accept the minority shareholder status in the Snowy River – backflip on Telstra.” – I love it when somebody else backflips.

Mark Vaile: “Let’s not forget the enormous benefits that have accrued to state governments across Australia as a result of changes in the taxation system, the revenue flows, the growth of the revenue flows as a result of the GST. The states are not short of a dollar. They need to manage (their finances) better, that’s our view.” – I’m just happy no-one’s talking about AWB any more.

Peter Fray

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