Paul Keating

Paul John Keating (born 18 January 1944) is an Australian politician who served as the 24th Prime Minister of Australia and the Leader of the Labor Party from 1991 to 1996. He had previously served as Treasurer in the Hawke Government from 1983 to 1991.

Paul Keating
Keating in 1993
24th Prime Minister of Australia
In office
20 December 1991  11 March 1996
MonarchElizabeth II
Governor-GeneralBill Hayden
Sir William Deane
DeputyBrian Howe
Kim Beazley
Preceded byBob Hawke
Succeeded byJohn Howard
7th Deputy Prime Minister of Australia
In office
4 April 1990  3 June 1991
Prime MinisterBob Hawke
Preceded byLionel Bowen
Succeeded byBrian Howe
Treasurer of Australia
In office
11 March 1983  3 June 1991
Prime MinisterBob Hawke
Preceded byJohn Howard
Succeeded byJohn Kerin
Leader of the Labor Party
In office
19 December 1991  19 March 1996
DeputyBrian Howe
Kim Beazley
Preceded byBob Hawke
Succeeded byKim Beazley
Deputy Leader of the Labor Party
In office
4 April 1990  3 June 1991
LeaderBob Hawke
Preceded byLionel Bowen
Succeeded byBrian Howe
Minister for Northern Australia
In office
21 October 1975  11 November 1975
Prime MinisterGough Whitlam
Preceded byRex Patterson
Succeeded byIan Sinclair
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Blaxland
In office
25 October 1969  23 April 1996
Preceded byJim Harrison
Succeeded byMichael Hatton
Personal details
Paul John Keating

(1944-01-18) 18 January 1944
Darlinghurst, New South Wales, Australia
Political partyLabor
Annita van Iersel
(m. 1976; div. 2008)
Domestic partnerJulieanne Newbould (since 1998)
ResidencePotts Point, New South Wales, Australia
EducationDe La Salle Catholic College
Belmore Technical College
ProfessionTrade unionist

Keating was born in Sydney and left school at the age of 14. He joined the Labor Party at a young age, serving a term as state president of Young Labor and working as a research assistant for a trade union. He was elected to the House of Representatives at the age of 25, winning the Division of Blaxland at the 1969 election. Keating briefly served as Minister for Northern Australia in the dying days of the Whitlam Government. After Labor lost power in 1975, he held increasingly senior portfolios in the Shadow Cabinets of Gough Whitlam and Bill Hayden. During this time he came to be seen as the leader of the Labor Right faction, and developed a reputation as a talented parliamentary performer.

After the Labor landslide at the 1983 election, Keating was appointed Treasurer by Prime Minister Bob Hawke. He became one of the most influential figures in the Government, overseeing the introduction of a large number of reforms intended to liberalise and strengthen the Australian economy. These included the Prices and Incomes Accord, the float of the Australian dollar, the elimination of tariffs, the deregulation of the financial sector, and reform of the taxation system (including the introduction of capital gains tax, fringe benefits tax, and dividend imputation). After an initially close partnership, leadership tensions began to increase between Hawke and Keating, culminating in a secret agreement that Hawke would eventually retire in Keating's favour. Keating became Deputy Prime Minister in 1990, but in June 1991 he unsuccessfully challenged for the leadership, believing that Hawke had reneged on their earlier agreement. He resigned as Treasurer, but mounted a second successful challenge six months later.

Keating became Prime Minister following the early 1990s recession, which as Treasurer he had famously described as "the recession we had to have". After a long run of poor polling, Labor was widely expected to lose the 1993 election, but he fought a strong campaign and managed to instead increase its majority. The Keating Government introduced compulsory superannuation, created an infrastructure development program, privatised Qantas and the Commonwealth Bank, and helped make republicanism and indigenous rights the subject of national debates, establishing the Republic Advisory Committee and enshrining native title in statute law.

At the 1996 election, Labor suffered a landslide defeat to the Liberal–National Coalition. Keating retired from Parliament shortly after the election, but has remained active as a political commentator, whilst maintaining broad business interests. Since leaving office, he has received consistent praise for his role in modernising the economy as Treasurer, while valuations of his time as Prime Minister are more mixed.

Early life and education

Keating was born at St Margaret's Hospital in Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales, on 18 January 1944.[1] He was the first of four children born to Minnie (née Chapman) and Matthew John Keating. His father worked as a boilermaker for the New South Wales Government Railways.[2] All of Keating's grandparents were born in Australia. On his father's side, he was descended from Irish immigrants born in counties Galway, Roscommon, and Tipperary.[3] On his mother's side, he was of mixed English and Irish descent. His maternal grandfather Fred Chapman was the son of two convicts, John Chapman and Sarah Gallagher, who had been transported for theft in the 1830s.[4]

Keating grew up in Bankstown, a working-class suburb in western Sydney. His siblings include Anne Keating, a company director and businesswoman. Leaving De La Salle College—now known as LaSalle Catholic College—at the age of 14, Keating left high school[5] and decided not to pursue higher education, and instead worked as a pay clerk at the Sydney County Council (the city's electricity distributor). He then worked as research assistant for a trade union, having joined the Labor Party as soon as he was eligible. In 1966, he became president of NSW Young Labor.[6] During the 1960s Keating also managed a rock band, "The Ramrods".[7]

Early political career

Through his contacts in the unions and the NSW Young Labor Council, Keating met future senior Labor figures such as Laurie Brereton, Graham Richardson and Bob Carr. He also developed a friendship with former New South Wales Premier Jack Lang. In 1971, he succeeded in having Lang re-admitted to the Labor Party.[8] Keating gained the Labor endorsement for the seat of Blaxland in the western suburbs of Sydney, and was elected to the House of Representatives in 1969 when he was 25 years old.[6]

Keating was a backbencher for most of the Whitlam government, although he was appointed Minister for Northern Australia in October 1975, serving until the government was controversially dismissed by Governor-General John Kerr the following month. After Labor's defeat in the December 1975 election, Keating was added to the Opposition frontbench. His portfolios included agriculture (January – March 1976), Minerals and Energy (March 1976 – November 1980), National Development (December 1977 – November 1980), Northern Australia (March – November 1980), Resources and Energy (November 1980 – January 1983) and finally Treasury (January – March 1983).[9] His parliamentary style was that of an aggressive debater. In 1981, he was elected president of the New South Wales Labor Party, thus becoming the leader of the dominant right-wing faction in Labor. At this time, he initially supported Bill Hayden over Bob Hawke as leadership tensions between the two men began to mount; part of the reason for his support was that he privately hoped to succeed Hayden in the near future.[10] However, by 1982, his faction had swung behind Hawke, and Keating endorsed his challenge. The formal announcement of Keating's support for Hawke was written by a fellow Labor politician, Gareth Evans.[11] Although Hayden survived the challenge, pressure continued to mount on him, and he eventually resigned in February 1983 after a poor by-election result. Hawke was elected to replace him, and he subsequently led Labor to a landslide victory in the election just six weeks later.[11]


Following Labor's victory in the 1983 election, Keating was appointed Treasurer of Australia by Prime Minister Bob Hawke; he succeeded John Howard in the position. He was able to use the size of the budget deficit that the Hawke Government inherited to question the economic credibility of the Liberal–National Coalition. That the deficit had significantly increased in the lead up to the election had not been disclosed in pre-election documents released by the Fraser government.[12] According to Hawke, the historically large $9.6 billion budget deficit left by the Coalition "became a stick with which we were justifiably able to beat the Liberal National Opposition for many years".[12] Although Howard was widely regarded at this time as being "discredited" by the hidden deficit, he had in fact argued unsuccessfully against Fraser that the revised figures should be disclosed before the election.[13]

Keating was one of the major driving forces behind the various extensive macro- and microeconomic reforms of the Hawke government.[14] As Treasurer, Keating pursued economic policies such as floating the Australian dollar in 1983, reducing tariffs on imports, completely reforming the tax system, moving from centralised wage-fixing to enterprise bargaining, privatising publicly owned companies such as Qantas, CSL Limited and the Commonwealth Bank, and deregulating large parts of the banking system. Keating was also instrumental in the introduction of the Prices and Incomes Accord, an agreement between the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and the government to negotiate wages. His management of the Accord, and close working relationship with ACTU President Bill Kelty, became a source of tremendous political power for Keating. Through the power given to him, Keating was often able to bypass the Cabinet altogether, notably in exercising monetary policy, and he was regularly referred to as "the most powerful Treasurer in modern times".[15]

In 1985, Keating argued within the Cabinet for the introduction of a broad-based consumption tax, similar in nature to the goods and services tax that was later introduced by the Howard government.[16][17] In the build-up to the 1984 election, Hawke had promised a policy paper on taxation reform to be discussed with all stakeholders at a tax summit. Three options – A, B and C – were presented in the Draft White Paper, with Keating and his Treasury colleagues fiercely advocating for C, which included a consumption tax of 15% on goods and services along with reductions in personal and company income tax, a fringe benefits tax and a capital gains tax. Although Keating was able to win the support of a reluctant Cabinet, Hawke believed that the opposition from the public, the ACTU, and the business community would be too great. He therefore decided to abandon any plans for a consumption tax, although the remainder of the reforms were adopted in the tax reform package. The loss of the consumption tax was seen a bitter defeat for Keating; he later joked about it at a press conference, saying, "It's a bit like Ben Hur. We've crossed the line with one wheel off, but we have crossed the line."[18]

In 1989, the Hawke Labor Government gradually began re-introducing fees for university study. It set up the Higher Education Contributions Scheme (HECS),[19] which was first proposed by Professor Murray Wells [20] and subsequently developed by economist and lecturer at the Australian National University, Bruce Chapman and championed by Education Minister John Dawkins (see Dawkins Revolution). Under the original HECS, a $1,800 fee was charged to all university students, and the Commonwealth paid the balance. A student could defer payment of this HECS amount (in which case it was called a HECS debt) and repay the debt through the tax system, when the student's income exceeded a threshold level. As part of the reforms, Colleges of Advanced Education entered the University sector by various means. The HECS system was accepted by both federal political parties and has survived until today, though with a number of changes.

Keating's tenure as Treasurer was often criticised for high interest rates and the 1990s recession, which Keating referred to in an interview as "(the) recession Australia had to have". Through the 1980s, both the global and Australian economies grew quickly, and by the late 1980s inflation had grown to around 9%. By 1988, the Reserve Bank of Australia began tightening monetary policy, and household interest rates peaked at 18%. It is often said that the Bank was too slow in easing monetary policy, and that this ultimately led to a recession. In private, Keating had argued for rates to rise earlier than they did, and fall sooner, although his view was at odds with the Reserve Bank and his Treasury colleagues.[15][21] Publicly, Hawke and Keating had said there would be no recession – or that there would be a "soft landing" – but this changed when Keating announced the country was indeed in recession in 1990. Claiming that the recession was something Australia "had to have" was referred to by Paul Kelly as "perhaps the most stupid remark of Keating's career, and it nearly cost him the Prime Ministership." Kelly did also concede that, "... however, it is largely true that the boom begat the recession."[22] During the subsequent Howard government, Keating would often criticise Howard for taking credit for the good economic conditions Australia experienced without acknowledging that it had been the early 1990s reforms that had ended the inflation problem allowing for economic stability and growth.[23] It is worth noting that the Keating economic reforms of this period created the economic platform of what is now an international record of an unbroken period of growth exceeding 27 years. (Thus "(the) recession Australia had to have" is the last recession Australia has ever had (as at Dec 2018).[24]

Leadership challenges

Hawke led Labor to a third consecutive victory in the 1987 election, but by his fifth anniversary as prime minister a year later, he had begun to suffer from poor opinion polling. It was at this time that Keating privately began to put pressure on Hawke to stand down in his favour as soon as possible. The two men eventually met at Kirribilli House later that year to discuss the handover of the leadership to Keating. Eventually, Hawke agreed in front of two witnesses that he would resign in Keating's favour a short time after the 1990 election, which he convinced Keating he could win.[15] Hawke subsequently won that election, and appointed Keating his Deputy Prime Minister to replace the retiring Lionel Bowen, in theory preparing Keating to assume the leadership. However, Keating quickly became dissatisfied with the lack of any indication from Hawke as to when he might stand down, and subsequently made a number of provocative speeches questioning the direction of the government. This caused tensions between the two men to grow very quickly, and Hawke told Keating that he would renege on the deal on the basis that Keating had been publicly disloyal.[25] Keating eventually resigned from the Cabinet and challenged Hawke for the leadership in June 1991. Hawke won the ballot by 66 votes to 44, and in a press statement afterwards Keating declared that he had fired his "one shot".[26][27] Publicly, at least, this seemed to spell the end of his leadership ambitions. Having failed to defeat Hawke, Keating realised that events would have to move very much in his favour for a second challenge to be even possible, and he strongly considered retiring from politics altogether.[28]

Several factors over the coming months enabled Keating to mount a second challenge to Hawke. Over the remainder of 1991, the economy showed no signs of recovery from the recession, and unemployment continued to rise.[29][30] Opinion polling for Labor was poor, some of Keating's supporters actively undermined the government, and, perhaps more significantly, Liberal Leader John Hewson introduced 'Fightback!', an economic policy package which, according to Keating's biographer, "appeared to astonish and stun Hawke's Cabinet".[28][29][31] According to Edwards, "Hawke was unprepared to attack it and responded with windy rhetoric".[31] Following Hawke's lacklustre response to 'Fightback!', many began to openly speculate that nearly nine years as prime minister had left Hawke "tired", and he began to lose the confidence of many in the Labor caucus.[32] Keating was viewed as the only viable replacement for Hawke, and on 19 December 1991, Keating challenged Hawke for a second time, this time defeating him by 56 votes to 51.

Prime Minister

On 20 December 1991, following his successful leadership challenge, Keating was sworn in as the 24th Prime Minister of Australia by the Governor-General. Keating had an extensive legislative agenda upon taking office, which included reconciliation with Australia's indigenous population, furthering economic and cultural ties with Asia, and making Australia a republic. The addressing of these issues came to be known as Keating's "big picture."[33] Keating's legislative program also included establishing the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA), a review of the Sex Discrimination Act, and the establishment of native title rights for Australia's indigenous peoples following the Mabo High Court decision.

Throughout his time as Prime Minister, Keating took a number of steps to strengthen and develop bilateral links with Australia's closest neighbours; he frequently said that there was no country in the world that was more important to Australia than Indonesia.[34] He also played a key role in the establishment of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC), initiating the annual leaders' meeting and ensuring that they continued thereafter.

Arguably Keating's most far-reaching legislative achievement was the introduction of a national superannuation scheme, implemented to address the long-term problem of low national savings. This built on policies that Keating had introduced whilst Treasurer, and was aimed at ensuring that most Australians would have enough money to retire. Keating also moved to introduce mandatory detention for asylum seekers.[35] On 10 December 1992, Keating delivered the Redfern Speech on Aboriginal reconciliation, a speech which has regularly been cited as among the greatest in Australian political history.[36][37]

As Prime Minister, Keating maintained his aggressive debating style. When asked by Opposition Leader John Hewson why he would not call an early election, Keating replied, "because I want to do you slowly." He referred to the Liberal Party as "a motley, dishonest crew", and the National Party as "dummies and dimwits; desperadoes". During an opposition debate that sought to censure Keating, he described being attacked by Peter Costello as "like being flogged with warm lettuce". Despite a very busy legislative agenda, many commentators predicted that the upcoming 1993 election was "unwinnable" for Labor. The government had been in power for the previous decade, and the pace of economic recovery from the early 1990s recession was slow.[38]

Such was the expectation that Labor would lose, many senior Labor figures openly told Keating that his job was to save as many seats as possible, so that their time in opposition would be short. Despite the overwhelming predictions that Labor would lose, Keating succeeded in winning over the electorate with a strong campaign opposing 'Fightback!' and a focus on creating jobs to reduce unemployment. In particular, Keating focused a great deal of his campaign on attacking the proposed goods and services tax, arguing that it would make unemployment worse and would prove "a dead weight" on the economy. He was helped in this by his opponent, Hewson, struggling towards the end of the campaign to explain exactly which products would have the GST levied on them, and which would not. Having begun the campaign an average of ten points behind the Liberal/National Coalition, Keating led Labor to an unexpected and record-breaking fifth consecutive election victory on 13 March 1993, picking up a two-seat swing. The speech Keating delivered at the victory celebration has been described as one of the great Labor speeches.[39][40][41][42] Opening with "This is a victory for the true believers; the men and women of Australia who, in difficult times, have kept the faith", the speech has been described as providing a source of inspiration for the party faithful.[43]

Having secured a mandate in his own right, Keating immediately set about implementing as much of his "big picture" as possible, leading the consultation and introducing legislation that would eventually lead to a 1999 referendum on Australia becoming a republic. Keating also continued to pursue improved relations with countries throughout Asia, in particular Indo-China. In December 1993, he became involved in a diplomatic incident with Malaysia when he described Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad as "recalcitrant". The incident occurred after Mahathir refused to attend the 1993 APEC summit. Keating said, "APEC is bigger than all of us – Australia, the U.S. and Malaysia, and Dr. Mahathir and any other recalcitrants." Mahathir demanded an apology from Keating, and threatened to reduce diplomatic ties and trade drastically with Australia, which became an enormous concern to Australian exporters. Some Malaysian officials talked of launching a "Buy Australian Last" campaign; Keating subsequently apologised to Mahathir over the remark.[44] Keating dismantled the century-old protectionism that had been present in Australia, fuelling a productivity drive in the free market and increasing Australian living standards.[45]

Keating's friendship with Indonesian President Suharto was criticised by human rights activists supportive of East Timorese independence, and by Nobel Peace Prize winner José Ramos-Horta, who would later go on to become East Timor's president and prime minister. The Keating government's cooperation with the Indonesian military, and the signing of the Timor Gap Treaty, were also strongly criticised by these same groups. It was alleged that Keating was overlooking alleged human rights abuses by the Indonesian government as part of his effort to dramatically increase Australia's cultural, diplomatic and economic ties with Asia.[46]

Like Hawke before him, Keating benefited from a split Liberal Party. Shortly after the 1993 election, John Hewson was replaced as Liberal Leader by Alexander Downer, whose leadership was quickly marred by gaffes and controversies within months. After continuous poor polling, Downer resigned in 1995 and was replaced by John Howard, who had previously led the Liberals from 1985 to 1989. Although at first showing no improvement, under Howard the Coalition soon regained momentum to move back ahead of Labor in opinion polls, and Keating was unable to wrest back the lead. The first warning sign of a serious swing away from Labor came in March 1995, when Labor lost Canberra in a by-election. Later in 1995, the Queensland Labor Party barely held onto its majority at the state election, before losing it altogether in a 1996 by-election. That by-election took place a week after Keating had called the 1996 election; the very public defeat severely hampered the launch of the Labor campaign, and the campaign was never able to regain momentum.

Howard, determined to avoid a repeat of the 1993 election, adopted a "small target" strategy, publicly committing to keep Labor reforms such as Medicare, and defusing the republic issue by promising to hold a constitutional convention. Howard was therefore successfully able to focus the campaign on the longevity of the Labor Government. The narrative of "time for change" proved impossible to defend against, and on 2 March 1996 the Keating Government was swept from power, suffering a five percent two party preferred swing. Normally, this would not be large enough in and of itself to bring about a change of government. However, the count turned into a rout when Labor lost 13 seats in New South Wales and 11 in Queensland. All told, Labor lost 29 seats; in terms of seats lost, the second-worst defeat ever of a sitting government in Australian history. With the scale of the defeat beyond doubt, Keating resigned as Labor Leader on election night. He tendered his resignation as Prime Minister on 11 March, 13 years to the day after Bob Hawke had first taken office, and stepped down from Parliament just over a month later on 23 April.[47]

Political retirement

Immediately after his defeat, Keating requested from Howard additional time to relocate his family from The Lodge to temporary rented accommodation at the former East German embassy in the Canberra suburb of Red Hill until his daughters finished secondary schooling.[48] Howard accepted this request, and Keating tendered his resignation nine days after losing the election. Concurrently, the Keatings had purchased and were renovating the up-market 'St Kevin's' mansion in the affluent eastern Sydney suburb of Woollahra[49] for $2.2 million in 1995.[50] While vacating the Prime Minister's office at Parliament House, Labor journalist Bob Ellis observed that: "With the power drained from him, (Keating) appeared two inches shorter, a sallow, strangely grinning, dull-eyed, not wholly trustworthy man, who had seemed but days before an immortal". Bob Hawke, whom he had rolled as leader, later remarked that Keating "doesn't have the capacity to put things behind him" and that he "genuinely feel(s) sorry for Paul, (sic) he should be a happy, happy man and he's not."[48]

Soon after leaving parliament, Keating became a director of various companies and a senior adviser to Lazard, an investment banking firm.[51][52] In 1997, Keating declined appointment as a Companion of the Order of Australia, an honour which has been offered to all former Prime Ministers since the modern Australian Honours System was introduced in 1975.[53] Keating also sits on an advisory council for a Chinese government development bank.[54]

In 2000, he published his first book since leaving office, Engagement: Australia Faces the Asia-Pacific, which focused on foreign policy during his term as prime minister.[55] In 2002, Keating's former speechwriter and adviser, Don Watson, published Recollections of a Bleeding Heart: A Portrait of Paul Keating PM. The book first drew criticism from Keating's estranged wife, Annita Keating, who said that it understated her contribution, a complaint Watson rejected.[56] Keating himself was so unhappy with the book that it brought the two men's friendship to an abrupt end.[57] Keating's primary complaint was about Watson's claim that he had written the Redfern Speech, something Keating strenuously denied.[58][59]

During John Howard's time as prime minister, Keating made occasional speeches strongly criticizing his successor's social policies, and defending his own policies, such as those on East Timor. Keating described Howard as a "desiccated coconut" who was "Araldited to the seat", and described him as "... an old antediluvian 19th century person who wanted to stomp forever ... on ordinary people's rights to organise themselves at work ... he's a pre-Copernican obscurantist" when criticising Howard's controversial WorkChoices policy.[60] He described Howard's deputy, Peter Costello, as being "all tip and no iceberg" when referring to an alleged pact made by Howard to hand the leadership over to Costello after two terms.[61] After Labor's landslide victory at the 2007 election, Keating said that he was relieved, rather than happy, that the Howard government had been removed. He claimed that there was "relief that the nation had put itself back on course...relief that the toxicity of the Liberal social agenda, the active disparagement of particular classes and groups, that feeling of alienation in your own country, was over."[62]

Keating was also publicly critical of the leadership team of Kevin Rudd. Just before the 2007 election, he criticised Rudd's deputy, Julia Gillard, saying that she lacked an understanding of principles such as enterprise-bargaining that had been set under the Hawke–Keating government in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He also attacked Rudd's chief of staff, David Epstein, and Gary Gray, who was at that time a candidate for Kim Beazley's former seat of Brand.[63]

In May 2007, Keating suggested that Sydney, rather than Canberra, should be the capital of Australia, saying that, "John Howard has already effectively moved the Parliament there. Cabinet meets in Phillip Street in Sydney, and when they do go to Canberra, they fly down to the bush capital, and everybody flies out on Friday. There is an air of unreality about Canberra. If Parliament sat in Sydney, they would have a better understanding of the problems being faced by their constituents. These real things are camouflaged from Canberra."[64]

In February 2008, Keating joined former prime ministers Gough Whitlam, Malcolm Fraser, and Bob Hawke in Parliament House to witness Kevin Rudd deliver the apology to the Stolen Generations.[65] In August 2008, he spoke at the book launch of Unfinished Business: Paul Keating's Interrupted Revolution, authored by economist David Love. Among the topics discussed during the launch were the need to increase compulsory superannuation contributions, as well as to restore incentives for people to receive their superannuation payments in annuities.[66]

Keating is currently a Visiting Professor of Public Policy at the University of New South Wales. He has been awarded honorary doctorates in law from Keio University in Tokyo (1995), the National University of Singapore (1999), the University of New South Wales (2003) and Macquarie University (2012).[53]

In 2013, Keating took part in a series of four hour-long interviews with Kerry O'Brien which were broadcast on the ABC in November of that year. The series covered Keating's early life, his entry into parliament and appointment as Minister for Minerals and Energy replacing his mentor Rex Connor in the dying days of the Whitlam government, period in opposition and years as Treasurer, and his term as Prime Minister, canvassing his academic, musical and artistic interests, economic and cultural vision for Australia, and commitment to Australia's integration into Asia.

O'Brien used these conversations as the basis for a 2014 book Keating: The Interviews. Keating repeatedly declared he would not write a memoir, so his cooperation with O'Brien was perceived as the closest he would come to producing an autobiography.

Historian David Day produced an unauthorised biography in 2015, titled Paul Keating: The Biography. In it, Day claimed that Keating was an undiagnosed dyslexic, and that this fact had negatively affected his political career. Keating subsequently sued for defamation. Day and his publisher, HarperCollins Australia, issued a retraction and apologised to Keating, and were additionally ordered to "meet his legal costs, destroy remaining stocks of the hardcover's 8000-copy print run, and substantially amend any future editions, should it be reprinted".[67]

In 2016, Troy Bramston, a journalist for The Australian with an interest in labour history, produced an authorised biography titled Paul Keating: The Big Picture Leader. It was described as "the first [biography] by an individual not from inside the Keating bunker, and it is the first with which Keating has co-operated, even if not fully".[68]

In 2017, Keating spoke out against the passing of a euthanasia bill to the upper house, saying "the passage of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill through the Victorian lower house is truly a sad moment for the whole country."[69]

In 2019, Keating spoke out against the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation by calling them "nutters."[70] Some media criticised his views, citing conflict of interest, as he was on the international advisory board of a Chinese state-owned bank, the China Development Bank.[71] Labor party leader, Bill Shorten, distanced himself from Keating's views. Keating's views were criticised by the Government, who defended Australian intelligence services.[72] In contrast, the Chinese state-run media supported Keating's comments.[73] Keating has continued to criticise Australia's intelligence services as well as journalists for their views on China.[74]

Personal life

In 1976, Keating married Annita van Iersel, a Dutch-born flight attendant for Alitalia. They had four children, who spent some of their teenage years in The Lodge, the Prime Minister's official residence in Canberra. The couple separated in November 1998. While they did not formally divorce until 2008, Annita had resumed her maiden name long before then. Van Iersal revealed some years after the event, when interviewed by The Bulletin, that Keating had broken off the relationship, and had done it while they were at a dinner party with friends.[75] Since 1998, Keating's partner has been actress Julieanne Newbould.[76] Keating's daughter, Katherine Keating, is a former adviser to former New South Wales minister Craig Knowles as well as former New South Wales Premier Bob Carr and alleged associate of Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein [77]. Keating's interests include the music of Gustav Mahler and collecting French antique clocks.[6][78] He currently resides in Potts Point, in inner-city Sydney and has a holiday home on the Hawkesbury River on Sydney's Upper North Shore.

In 2005, Keating!, a musical based on Keating's life and career, premiered at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. It went on to run until 2010, winning a number of awards and eventually being broadcast on ABC2.[79]

See also


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  2. Day (2015), p. 10.
  3. Day (2015), p. 8.
  4. Day (2015), p. 3.
  5. "Australia's Prime Ministers". National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  6. "Civics | Paul Keating (1944–)". Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  7. "". Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  8. "Former PM Paul Keating and historian Frank Cain discuss Jack Lang's life, legacy and the Depression". 17 November 2005. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  9. Australia's PMs > Paul Keating > Before office, National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  10. Edwards, John, Keating: The Inside Story, Viking, 1996, p. 153
  11. Edwards, John, Keating: The Inside Story, Viking, 1996, p. 159
  12. Hawke, Bob, The Hawke Memoirs, William Heinemann Australia, 1994, p. 148
  13. Errington, W., & Van Onselen, Peter, John Winston Howard: The Biography, Melbourne University Press, 2007, Errington, W.,& Van Onselen, Peter, John Winston Howard: The Biography, Melbourne University Press, 2007,
  14. Toner, Kieron, The Cart Before the Horse: Australian Exchange Rate Policy and Economic Reform in the 1980s, Earlybrave Publications, 2000.
  15. Kelly, Paul (1994). The End of Certainty: Power, Politics, and Business in Australia. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86373-757-X. Retrieved 5 October 2007.
  16. Eccleston, Richard (2007). Taxing reforms: the politics of the consumption tax in Japan, the United States, Canada and Australia. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 202.
  17. Malone, Paul (2006). Australian Department Heads Under Howard – Career Paths and Practice. ANU Press. p. 136.
  18. D'Alpuget, Blanche (2011). Hawke: The Prime Minister. Melbourne University Publishing.
  19. "Higher Education Funding Act 1988". 1 January 2005. Retrieved 27 August 2010.
  20. The Australian, 15 April 1987, page 15)
  21. "Keating still casts a shadow". 31 August 2004. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  22. Ian McFarlane (2 December 2006). "The real reasons why it was the 1990s recession we had to have". Retrieved 6 October 2011.
  23. "Paul Keating on the lead-up to the federal election". Lateline ABC. 7 June 2007. Retrieved 15 July 2007.
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  25. Gordon, Michael (16 July 2010). "True rivals". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  26. Edwards, John, Keating: The Inside Story, Viking, 1996, p.435
  27. Edwards, John, Keating: The Inside Story, Viking, 1996, p. 438
  28. Edwards, John, Keating: The Inside Story, Viking, 1996, p. 439
  29. Hawke, Bob, The Hawke Memoirs, William Heinemann Australia, 1994, p.544
  30. Edwards, John, Keating: The Inside Story, Viking, 1996, p. 440
  31. Edwards, John, Keating: The Inside Story, Viking, 1996, p. 441
  32. Edwards, John, Keating: The Inside Story, Viking, 1996, p. 442
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  34. Sheriden, Greg (28 January 2008). "Farewell to Jakarta's Man of Steel". The Australian. Retrieved 30 December 2008.
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Further reading

  • Carew, Edna (1991), Paul Keating Prime Minister, Allen and Unwin.
  • Edwards, John (1996), Keating: The Inside Story, Viking.
  • Gordon, Michael (1993), A Question of Leadership. Paul Keating. Political Fighter, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, Queensland. ISBN 0-7022-2494-4
  • Gordon, Michael (1996), A True Believer: Paul Keating, UQP.
  • Keating, Paul (1995), Advancing Australia, Big Picture.
  • Keating, Paul (2011), "After Words", Allen & Unwin, ISBN 978-1-74237-759-9
  • Lowe, David (2008), Unfinished Business: Paul Keating's interrupted revolution, Scribe.
  • Watson, Don (2002), Recollections of a Bleeding Heart: A Portrait of Paul Keating PM, Knopf.
  • Paul Keating (2011), After Words: The Post-Prime Ministerial Speeches, Allen & Unwin.
Parliament of Australia
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