Paul Keating
Paul Keating's official portrait, by Robert Hannaford.

As susceptible as I can be to Paul Keating’s rhetorical powers, I nevertheless get a queasy feeling when he pops up -- again and again, driving Australian progressives and political junkies into a frenzy.

Given Keating was such a pioneer and champion of neoliberalism in Australia -- effectively stripping power and money away from workers and poor Australians -- it’s staggering, and certainly embarrassing, to see how progressives can carry on about him.  

Every time PJK graces our screens -- to talk economics, or dunk on the LNP -- social media erupts in a fever dream of admiration and nostalgia, with people reciting their favourite Keating zingers, and complaining that our current lot of bloodless leaders don’t have his oratorical grandeur.