Federal

Jun 19, 2014

Remember when the Coalition hated Hawke and Keating?

The government has taken great pains to compare current Labor unfavourably with the golden age of Hawke and Keating. But cast your mind back a few decades, and Hawke and Keating were far from Liberal favourites at the time.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

One of the persistent themes from the government in question time lately as it tries — futilely — to explain its budget is what wonderful governments Bob Hawke and Paul Keating led in comparison to the modern Labor Party. This has been going on for several weeks and continued this week, with the Prime Minister saying in Monday’s question time: “Once upon at a time, we had serious people in the Labor Party. When the Labor Party was led by people like Bob Hawke and Paul Keating, they had some serious answers for our country. They were prepared to take some tough decisions to reform our nation and to help set up the prosperity of the future.”

How times change. Unsurprisingly, the Hawke and Keating governments were attacked constantly by the then-opposition — that’s what oppositions do, after all. Moreover, far from that era being some sort of nirvana of bipartisan reformism it’s often portrayed as, in which a responsible opposition supported reforms that were in the national interest, the Hawke and Keating governments were often attacked for pursuing reforms the Coalition now claims to support. For example, John Howard famously wanted to “gut Medicare”, and the Coalition tried to block the introduction of compulsory superannuation in 1992.

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4 comments

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4 thoughts on “Remember when the Coalition hated Hawke and Keating?

  1. Saugoof

    “Once upon at a time, we had serious people in the Labor Party. When the Labor Party was led by people like Bob Hawke and Paul Keating, they had some serious answers for our country. They were prepared to take some tough decisions to reform our nation and to help set up the prosperity of the future.”

    Like the NDIS, Carbon Tax, Gonsky school reforms, mining super profits tax, NBN? All great policies that would have been great for the country had they not been ruined by the Coalition and their media cheer squad in the short-sighted interest of getting into power.

  2. fractious

    “Once upon at a time, we had serious people in the Labor Party…”

    To be scrupulously fair (and ignoring their rank hypocrisy), they’ve got a point.

  3. MJPC

    B the way, what happened to Godwin Greech?

  4. MJPC

    The coalition used to hate Hawke and Keating, now they hate everyone below a certain income scale (usually 6 figures or better), ethnicity, gender persuasion, environmental consciousness, political belief unless an election is in the offing.
    To those who voted for these imposters, I hope you are enjoying the ride.

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