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Here’s the full Keating quote Ross couldn’t remember this morning


Ross Stevenson couldn’t shake the memory that former Prime Minister Paul Keating once compared his opposition to various fireworks.

But even the masterful 3AW Breakfast production team couldn’t find a record of it.

So Ross put the word out for help from an “intern” — a listener under the age of 30 who can help out in such sticky situations.

Fortunately, listener Karen found the quote, and in doing so became Ross and John’s first intern!

Here’s Keating’s quote in full:

“Some of you are old enough to remember cracker night, I’m sure. I sometimes think of my opponents sitting on the front bench as crackers, with Hewson the skyrocket. And Howard, always with such promise. He always reminded me of that thing called the flower pot. Now, I don’t know if any of you remember the flower pot, but that was the one which always promised a dazzling performance. You’d light it up, and it had multicolours, and it did a show for you but, often, when you lit it up, it went fffftttft, a bit of a spark… there was always a bit of a show and then there’d be a bit more, and a bit more, then finally it fell away to nothing. That’s really very typical of his contribution.

“Then there’s McLachlan, our establishment friend, who was supposed to have come to Canberra with a big bang. I always think of him as the bunger, you know, the big red bungers? The strong, silent type capable of a big bang. You light it up, everyone stands back, and then the wick goes down and everyone’s waiting… and they keep on waiting… and that’s it, it doesn’t go off.

“And then there’s Bronwyn. She reminds me of the Catherine wheel. We used to nail them to the fence and they’d take off, spreadeagle the kids, burn the dog, run up a tree, and then fizzle out going round in circles.

“So that’s our friends in opposition. Bitter, burnt out and accident-prone.”

Photo: Mary Evans