Keating on Hawke: “When John Hewson released Fightback (in November 1991), the Government was struck dumb. It didn’t know what to say to a highly political, ideological document. It was trying to run around and count the sums and do an arithmetic reply. The thing to do was an immediate political reply. I mean, in the end, Fightback finished Bob off, not me.”
Ramsey, A. 1993. The Power and the Enmity, Sydney Morning Herald, May 29.
And a year later, when Keating exiled himself for six months on Labor’s backbench after Hawke broke his word and his bond to his deputy and Treasurer, the Hawke Government fell apart. Excuse me, but remember, Bob? John Hewson was doing you like a dinner. You and those who’d saved you from Keating in June 1991- Beazley, Gareth Evans, Robert Ray, Michael Duffy, Nick Bolkus and Gerry Hand – in the main had no idea how to deal with Hewson’s consumption tax agenda.
Labor’s support plunged. So did Hawke’s. People forget by just how much, and the resulting Labor panic. By Christmas, Hawke was gone, the first Labor Prime Minister turfed out by his party while still in office. Keating was the new messiah, and deservedly. And he managed yet another election victory when Labor had no business doing so.
Ramsey, A. 2003. Anniversary Sludge. Sydney Morning Herald, March 8.