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.”
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.