As part of our 15th birthday celebrations, we’ve trawled through the archives to bring you some of the best, weirdest and most salacious articles published on Crikey since our launch on February 14, 2000.

*This article was originally published on July 2, 2008.

The political career of Alexander Downer is coming to a close this week — here’s a highlights package:

Downer refers to new Climate Change Minister Penny Wong, as overheard by Crikey moles, November 2007.

Shut up you foul-mouthed bitch.

How the left appeased Hitler, January 2007

Australian Labor wants to retreat to fortress Australia. Its natural instinct has always been isolationism, and its cut-and-run policy in Iraq is the latest incarnation of that tendency. It is madness to think we can retreat from this crucial battle for civilisation and hope the terrorists will leave us alone…. Historically the left has always looked for soft options — from appeasement of Hitler, accommodation of Communist expansionism and unilateral disarmament in the Cold War.

Of Kevin Rudd and jelly, July 2007

Reported Mr Downer said Kevin Rudd was a “jellyback” for demanding a probe into the Government’s handling of 27-year-old Mohamed Haneef, who was held by police for three weeks before a terrorism charge was dropped. “I think we could sum Mr Rudd up in one word – and that word is jellyback… This is somebody who has decided to change his position because of the media controversy.”

Just putting the pie in the oven, April 2006

I think, on the basis of all that I have seen in the Cole inquiry, I think that its conclusions will be very, very interesting and there is certainly going to be humble pie eaten somewhere. There is going to be a big meal of humble pie eaten by somebody at some time after this report comes down.

Memory lapse: Downer appears at the Cole Inquiry, April 2006

“I don’t recall.”

“I don’t recall.”

“I don’t recall.”

“I just don’t recall.”

“No, not that I can recall at all.”

“I can’t recall my state of mind when I read the document…”

“I don’t recall being given that information.”

“Well, I simply do not recall.”

“Well, I can only tell you what I can recall…”

“If he had told me that, I would have thought I’d have remembered it, but I don’t recall.”

“Yes, it could be.”

“It may have been.”

“It could have been.”

“It might have been..”

“I don’t recall.”

“No, I don’t recall that.”

“I don’t recall them saying that.”

“I don’t recall them saying that to me.”

“I could have done, but I don’t recall it.”

“No, not that I can recall at all.”

“I can’t, of course, recall.”

Finally, a stable government for Iraq, April 2004

The Coalition has removed once and for all the threat of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction and his brutal regime. It is now supporting Iraqi efforts to bring stable representative government to a country ruined by three decades of tyranny. We must ask ourselves what the consequences would be if we were to cut and run from the violent campaign waged by terrorists and those Iraqis clinging to the past. To cut and run from Iraq, as the ALP would have Australia do, would be the height of irresponsibility – and a fundamental betrayal of Australia’s values and national interests. Proponents of this view would have Australia abandon the Iraqi people to the mercy of terrorists.

Swallowing al-Qaeda’s propaganda, March 2004

I mean, I think [Mick Keelty’s] just expressing a view which reflects a lot of the propaganda we’re getting from al-Qaeda. I think what the bottom line of all of this, is that they, al-Qaeda, are out there running this line on Iraq.

Just doing what any reasonable person would, September 2002


Australian intelligence agencies report Iraq’s continuing attempts to procure equipment, material and technologies that could assist its weapons of mass destruction program. They judge that Saddam Hussein’s desire for weapons of mass destruction remains undiminished.

Iraq has been working to increase its chemical and biological weapon capability over the past four years….

As with chemical and biological weapons, the Australian Government has no reason to believe that Saddam Hussein has abandoned his ambition to acquire nuclear weapons. All the circumstances suggest the opposite.

Australian intelligence agencies believe there is evidence of a pattern of acquisition of equipment which could be used in a uranium enrichment program….

The Government’s view is that there is good reason to be extremely worried about the current status of Iraq’s programs. Any reasonable person would have to share that view..

A nightmare for the international community would be for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to find their way into the hands of terrorist organisations…. recent intelligence sources have confirmed the presence of al-Qaeda members in Iraq.

Unfortunate puns, September 1994

When we release our domestic violence policy, the things that batter. Our marginal seat strategy, the swings that matter. And our family policy, look this is a reflection of our own home I suppose, the flings that matter.