Paul Keating was invited to launch a new collection of Australian political writing edited by the ABC’s Tony Jones. He didn’t want to do it.

I was more than happy for the piece I wrote for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age following Howard’s defeat to be included in Tony Jones’ selection but after reading over the manuscript you would not need to be a political scientist to realise that my short piece would be published amid so much dross from other people – Paul Sheehan, Geoffrey Blainey, Glenn Milne, Tom Switzer to name a few – that if all these monkeys turned up to the launch, you’d need to go armed with a hip flask of mace.

Of course there are fairer and better minds represented but the flavour of the thing being as it is — a selection from the political writing of the period — necessarily reflects the jaundiced journalism that was part and parcel of the Howard years.

As for the characters above mentioned, my only interest in them is burying them deep at the political cemetery. So deep, that exhumation becomes beyond all political practicability.

Sorry my response is not more encouraging.

Paul Keating.

Which leaves us wishing that he would turn his hand to writing the odd line for Kevin Rudd.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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