Historical Revisionism

All lyrics written and copyrighted by Casey Bennetto, 2004.
Annotations written by Loki Carbis, 2009; revised in 2014.
The assistance and advice of Casey Bennetto in the creation of these annotations is gratefully acknowledged.

This page is intended for informational purposes only.

 

The 1996 Federal Election was held on March 2. Keating’s ALP government was swept from power, losing 31 seats. At no point was the result in much doubt.Scrutineer: The ’96 election is still hanging by a thread.
And the last of the electorates is gonna bring it to a head.
In each performance of “Keating!”, the location of the booth is that of the theatre in which that night’s show is running.One tiny booth in Surry Hills has not returned its choice.
Is it Keating, is it Howard? Let your verdict find its voice.

Band: (whisper) Keating, Keating, Keating!
Scrutineer: The same name just keeps repeating
Band: (louder) Keating, Keating, Keating!
Keating: I can feel my heart start beating
Band: (louder still) Keating, Keating, Keating!
Howard: No way! That’s wrong! That’s cheating!
Band: (Loudest) Keating, Keating, Keating, Keating, Keating, Keating, Keating!

Keating: I thought no victory could be sweeter
I thought no day could dawn so bright
I thank my lovely wife Annita
She’s been out the back all night

Don’t need no glorious procession
Don’t need no streamers to be tossed
I just want to hear this man’s concession
Historically, John Howard never apologizes for anything, something that caused him some embarrassment in 2008 when he made remarks that could be construed as an apology.Howard: Well I’m sorry … that I lost.

Keating: And I’m the boss,

‘Cos I am, I am the ruler of the land
They tell me I’m the man
Band: who da man?
Keating: who da man?
Band: you da man!
Keating: – yes I am.
I am the ruler of the land
They tell me I’m the man
Band: who da man?
Keating: who da man?
Band: you da man!
Keating: I am, I am, I am!
All: KEATING!
[PARTY POPPERS!]

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The Light On The Hill

All lyrics written and copyrighted by Casey Bennetto, 2004.
Annotations written by Loki Carbis, 2009; revised in 2014.
The assistance and advice of Casey Bennetto in the creation of these annotations is gratefully acknowledged.

This page is intended for informational purposes only.

 

The 1996 Federal Election was held on March 2. Keating’s ALP government was swept from power, losing 31 seats.Keating: They’re counting up the votes across Australia
And counting down the seconds of my years
I’ve seen quite a few elections
I know how to read projections
I can recognise a change when it appears
The people make the ultimate decisions
The system says they always get it right
Though it seems like half an hour
Since I stumbled into power
Now it’s time for me to say goodnight

But still I dream
of a country rich and clever
with compassion and endeavour
reaching out towards forever, and I’m still
The Light on the Hill‘ is the term used by the ALP to describe its ideals and intent: that of government as a guide and a shelter for those who need it. It was first used by Prime Minister Ben Chifley of the ALP in a speech in 1949.dreaming of the light on the hill

You start off in your local council chambers
You fight and dream until you reach your prime
And if you should succeed
By the time you get to lead
When he first became Prime Minister, Keating was tired and worn out. He frequently commented that the opportunity had come too late for him during his first year at the top. But the fight against Hewson reinvigorated him.You’re pretty much exhausted from the climb
You only get a moment in the penthouse
Before you find you’re standing on the sill
If you’re sunk in ham and gammon
When it turns from feast to famine
Then you’re lucky if you’ve had your fill

But still I dream
heads are high and hearts are heady
eyes are bright and clear and steady
full of promise that we’re ready to fulfil
I’m dreaming of the light on the hill

They’re counting up the votes across Australia
And this time it seems the verdict is severe
All of these names are those of electorates lost by the ALP in the 1996 election.Swan, McEwen, Fadden, Dickson,
Bass and Paterson and Kingston
Oxley is another electorate lost by the ALP, in this case to independent Pauline Hanson. Hanson was infamous for her outspokenly racist views. She was not returned at the subsequent election.But it’s Oxley with the message loud and clear:
This line refers back to the first song in the show, “My Right Hand-Man”, only now used with greater bitterness. It’s a play on “relaxed and comfortable” was a catchphrase of the Howard government dating from the 2004 election, which has rarely been used without irony since then.Bring us back our comfy bloody country
Take us back to simple days of yore
Both Pauline Hanson and John Howard would engage in a considerable amount of racist scare-mongering during Howard’s years in power, completely reversing Keating’s policy of engagement with Asia.Nothing alien or scary,
In the words of Rodney Cavalier (historian, ALP politician and former NSW state minister:
“His ideas agenda based on the republic, native title, engagement with Asia and multiculturalism cut no ice with the electorate at large, especially core Labor voters. In various ways, these items were seen as being away with the fairies…”
La-di-da or airy-fairy
Just put it back the way it was before

But still I dream
that the stars will be aligning
as our fates are intertwining
until every heart is shining with goodwill
shining like the light on the hill,
shining like the light on the hill.

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Choose Me

All lyrics written and copyrighted by Casey Bennetto, 2004.
Annotations written by Loki Carbis, 2009; revised in 2014.
The assistance and advice of Casey Bennetto in the creation of these annotations is gratefully acknowledged.

This page is intended for informational purposes only.

 

Keating: Since we’ve been together, baby, what a ride we’ve had
A J-Curve is a line on a graph that dips and then rises. Keating often claimed that the Australian economy was following such a curve during his Prime Ministership.A rollercoaster J-curve through the good times and the bad
Now maybe you got the blues
But if you have to choose
Well choose me

The Liberal narrative at the 1996 election was that Keating had abandoned ‘the battlers’ to pursue his big picture agenda (i.e. the policies sung about in this musical). This was a hard accusation to refute.Howard: You gave him your devotion and he treated you so cruel
You took him to the top and now he takes you for a fool
Why don’t you break it up?
It’s time to shake it up
and choose me

Howard: Dislocation, deprivation, well it’s more than you should stand
Working Nation was the name of Keating’s policy statement going in to the 1996 election.Keating: Working Nation, transformation, needs a sure and steady hand
We’ll be smarter, it gets harder, but we’ve got to push on through
What’s your country done for you‘ neatly inverts JFK’s call to ‘ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country‘ and encapsulates an unearned sense of entitlement all too common during the Howard years.Howard: Don’t believe it? You don’t need it! What’s your country done for you?

I’ll pick you pretty flowers, babe, and bring ‘em to your door
Howard famously attempted to explain a broken election promise as a ‘non-core’ promise. It is indicative of the cowardice of both politicians and media in Australia that Howard was not brought to a screaming halt every time he opened his mouth in the subsequent election campaign by being asked whether the promises he was making were core or non-core.Keating: Am I the only one to whom that promise sounds non-core?
Howard: No, I always tell the truth
Keating: I think we need some proof
Keating/Howard: So choose me
Keating: We had trouble, burst our bubble, but recovery is here
Howard’s line going into the election was that Keating had delivered “five minutes of economic sunshine”.Howard: I don’t trust it, he’ll just bust it, gonna prick your brick veneer
Keating: Honest Johnny, later we’re all gonna see that GST?
Howard had promised never to introduce a GST:
Howard: There’s no way that a GST will ever be part of our policy.
Journalist: Never ever?
Howard: Never ever. It’s dead. It was killed by the voters in the last election.
Howard: No I swear it, I declare it that will never ever be!
Keating: So tell me truly, people, is it him or is it me?
Howard: Take a lolly, baby, think it over carefully
Keating/Howard: ‘Cos now it’s up to you
whatever you want to do…
but choose me.
Choose me
Choose me
Choose me
Choose me
Choose me
Choose me
Choose me
Choose meeeeeeeeee

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