Queensland MP Warren Entsch was so keen to share his words of wisdom over the weekend that instead of sharing the quote from Cicero with just his Coalition colleagues, the missive was sent by a staffer to all lower house MPs. According to the email, “he has used this at various functions and it has been well received by those in attendance”. The full quote is:

“The budget should be balanced, the treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.”

The added problem is, that there’s no substantive evidence Cicero ever said it, but he did express similar sentiments. Although the quote was attributed to the Roman philosopher and politician by US Congressman Otto E. Passman in 1966, and since reported on as such, a few websites that investigate such quotes say that original source material connecting the quote to Cicero can’t be found.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey