The Mateship

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.


‘Just let me talk’ is practically a catchphrase of Howard’s – it tends to come out whenever he’s under fire in an interview.Howard: Hang on a tick, just let me talk
‘You can tell by the way I use my walk’ is the first line of the Bee Gees’ classic ‘Stayin’ Alive’.‘Cos you can tell by the way I use my walk
I’m just a bloke, a normal bloke, and nothin’ more
I’ve got my home, I’ve got my health
I’ve got my lovely wife and kids, I’ve got no tickets on myself
I’m just a bloke, an Aussie bloke, to the core

So you know that I’d be grateful to the nation at large
If you thought it was appropriate to put me in charge
Band/Howard: of the Mateship – Anchors aweigh!
Howard: We’ve decided you’re invited to stay
Band/Howard: on the Mateship – Welcome aboard!
The Accord (in full, the Prices and Incomes Accord), was a series of agreements between the ALP and the ACTU. In essence, the government pledged to minimise inflation and price rises and the unions were to restrict wage claims and industrial action. The Accord was a factor in the low unemployment figures under the Hawke government.Howard: We could find a better kind of accord, uh-huh-huh

Well I can jibe, and I can tack
Howard was quick to go to war in 2003, and frequently referred to the ANZAC campaign at Gallipoli in 1915. He himself has never served a day in uniform, of course.So let the skipper take the clipper to Gallipoli and back
I’ll be a bloke, an Aussie bloke, with digger pride
We wouldn’t mix with other crews
Howard was happy to consult with several right wing religious groups, notably Hillsong and the Exclusive Brethren – all groups noted for the singular nature of their views.We won’t consult with any cult promoting multiple views
We’ll just be blokes. Dinkum blokes. Bonafide.

And I’d look to the community defending the land
If you took the opportunity to give me command
Band/Howard: of the Mateship – Hoisting the sail!
The ‘Baby Overboard’ incident occurred in 2001. The MV Tampa, a refugee carrying ship of Norwegian registration, entered Australian waters. It was stopped by Australian naval vessels, at which time, it was alleged, one refugee threw their baby overboard. This claim was later disproven, but not before it had been repeated by Howard and a number of his ministers, and received a great deal of media attention. Howard rode a combination of this scare-mongering and that related to the 9/11 attacks to victory in the 2001 election.Howard: Never throw a baby over the rail
Band/Howard: on the Mateship – Flying the flag!
Howard: You’ll be clamouring to carry a swag, uh-huh-huh

Band / Howard: Mates would die for a mate
Mates are worth their weight in gold
Mates can rely on a mate
Howard was widely believed to lack strong personal relationships and other friendships.Howard: So I’m told…

Now I’m a man, I’m not a boy
When they say Aussie Aussie Aussie I say oy oy oy
like any bloke, a rugged bloke, pretty tough
It’s catching on, it’s all the rage
Why even now I look around and see no women on the stage
Only blokes, Aussie blokes,
Australia has a long history of claiming New Zealanders as their own, but only the really talented and/or famous ones. Which is why Tim Finn is from New Zealand, but Neil Finn is Australian. In addition, this line had an extra layer of resonance for the band because the bassist, Eden Ottignon, was indeed a proud New Zealander, as he is quick to point out here.Bass Player: Hey! I’m a Kiwi
Howard: close enough.

Howard was dismissive of what he saw as Keating’s “black armband” view of history.You could dwell upon tomorrow and the sorrow you feel
Or set a course for yesterday and give me the wheel
Band/Howard: of the Mateship – Rounding the buoy!
Howard: No political correctness ahoy
Band/Howard: on the Mateship – Anchors aweigh!
In the course of the Tampa incident, Liberal election advertising proclaimed that “We decide who comes into this country, and the circumstances in which they come.”Howard: We’ll decide if you’re invited to stay
On the Mateship…
on the Mateship…

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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.


John Howard was a Liberal politician who had previously served as Treasurer under Malcolm Fraser. He succeeded Downer as Leader of the Opposition.Howard: I was an angel in the beginning:
I thought of playing, but not of winning
So frail and weak, so meek and mild,
I was the world’s most agreeable child
I had my share of schoolyard beatings
I made my fair and frightened bleatings
But I began to understand
What they held in their bullying hands…

I want power! I want power!
I want to smell my own ambition in flower!
I want a sense of domination and control!
Wanting to bat or bowl regardless of one’s team’s current disposition is a well-known characteristic of control-freak cricket players everywhere. Wanting to do both at once is a level of control addiction unfortunately common in politics.I want to bat! I want to bowl!

I want power! I want power!
The kind where servant-girls bring tributes by the hour!
And I won’t rest until I rule the school!
Then I’ll be hip, then I’ll be cool.

Band: You’ll be empowered, John Winston Howard
Howard: Not a single soul alive to call me coward!
Band: You’ll be the big big cheese
Howard: I won’t say sorry, I won’t say please!
Band: You’ll be empowered, John Winston Howard
Howard: They’ll pay for every time I scraped and bowed and cowered
I’ll do what must be done
To make John Howard number one!
Band: Number one!

Howard: At university I took my hisses
My slings and brickbats, my hits and misses
But ev’ry moment mocked and cursed
Increased my hunger, increased my thirst
And so the party fed my ambition
They let me lead the Opposition
Howard was Leader of the Opposition from 1985 to 1989, and led the party to defeat in the 1987 federal election.They let me lead, then tore me down
Howard had decided after 1989 that the only way he would return to the leadership was if the party asked him to, rather than going through the division of a leadership struggle. The retirement of his longtime foe in the party, Andrew Peacock, was also a factor in his rise.But that won’t happen this time around…

I want power! I want power!
Not just to sit in Opposition and glower!
I want to turn this mother loose!
Show me the money” was a catchphrase of Cuba Gooding Jnr.’s character in the 1996 movie Jerry Maguire.Show me the money! Give me the juice!
I want power! I want power!
I’ll give Australia a gorgeous golden shower
And I won’t rest until I rule!
Then I’ll be cool, then I’ll be cruel.

Band: You’ll be empowered, John Winston Howard
Howard: I’ll show that Keating joker how his grapes have soured
Band: You’ll be the man in charge
Howard: I’ll go ballistic, I’m livin’ large!
Band: You’ll be empowered, John Winston Howard
Pru Goward and her husband David Barnett’s book, John Howard, Prime Minister was released in 1997, and thus covered virtually none of the time he actually was the Prime Minister.Howard: With a biography by Pru and David Goward

And when it comes to be…
I’ll make the bastards bow to me!
And when it comes to be…

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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.


Eddie Koiki Mabo was a Torres Strait Islander who became famous in Australian history for his role in campaigning for indigenous land rights and for his role in a landmark decision of the High Court of Australia that overturned the legal fiction of terra nullius which characterised Australian law with regards to land and title.Keating: There’s a tale I heard, of an island man
Tough and undeterred, he said “Haven’t you heard?
“This land: our land!”
We belong
Mabo v Queensland (No 2) (commonly known as Mabo) was a landmark Australian court case which was decided by the High Court of Australia on June 3, 1992. The effective result of the judgement was to make irrelevant the declaration of terra nullius, or “land belonging to no-one” which had been taken to occur from the commencement British colonisation in 1788, and to recognise a form of Native Title.That’s what the High Court said
So when you sing this song,
You gotta sing it for Ed.
For Eddie.
Band: Ready!

Band: Mabo! Mabo! Mabo!
Keating: What’s that name?
Band: Mabo!
The Meriam people are a tribe of Torres Strait Islanders who occupy Mer (Murray Island). Traditionally, they live through fishing and farming.Keating: For the Meriam people

Band: Mabo!
Keating: it was very unequal
Band: Mabo!
Keating: Was it totally legal? Oh no!
Here we go. Oh oh
Band: Mabo! Mabo! Mabo!
Keating: And here it comes again.
Band: Mabo!
The Native Title Bill was introduced to Parliament by Keating in June 1993. After amendments by the Greens and Democrats, it finally passed the Senate on Devember 21 of that year.Keating: Native title
Band: Mabo!
Keating: It’s alive and vital!
Band: Mabo!
Keating: Speak the truth and make it so!
And if we follow this philosophy
Demand a land beyond compare
Then girt by faith and generosity
We’ll all combine to redefine a beauty rich and rare
‘Advance Australia Fair’ is the national anthem of Australia. The last three lines of this song all paraphrase lines from it.In joyful strains then let us sing: Advance Australia…

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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.


Rather than annotate this song, it makes more sense to me to simply link to the video of Keating’s Redfern Speech, from which much of the lyrics of this song are drawn. Written by Don Watson, Keating himself, or in collaboration (both men claim sole authorship), it was made made on 10 December 1992 by Keating at Redfern Park in Sydney.

Keating: And now
We’re living in a great creative nation
Yet we wait somehow
The battle for the country can’t be won
Until we understand
How well we know our land
How much we hide our shame
Or dare to speak its name
Band: Redfern…

Keating: And here
We wander through the midst of this
And wish that it would disappear
As if it’s only locally created
Insulated pain
A shadow and a stain
A hurt we can’t reveal
A cut too deep to heal
Band: Redfern…

Keating: But oh, I know we can succeed
We can’t afford to fail
And justice must prevail
And oh, I’m sure it will indeed
With everything we share
We know it’s only fair

To begin
I think we oughta show contrition.
Recognition of our sin
And wonder how we had the gall
To think it was all OK
And never thought to say
“How angry would I be
If this were done to me?”
Band: Redfern…

Keating: But oh, I know we can succeed
We can’t afford to fail
And justice must prevail
And oh, I’m sure it will indeed
With everything we share
We know it’s only fair…
Oh yeah!
RRAAH !!!!

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Heavens, Mister Evans

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.


Gareth Evans: It’s always the same, whenever she walks by
My face is aflame, and my mouth goes dry
My pulse is racing, and my heart goes pit-a-pat
Senator Cheryl Kernot was the leader of the Australian Democrats from 1993 through to 1997, when she abruptly defected to the ALP. Her affair with Gareth Evans, which began during the Keating years, did not come to the public’s knowledge until well after the downfall of the Keating government, but is widely believed to have affected Evans’ judgement while he served in the Keating government.And I yearn for Cheryl Kernot, Democrat

Cheryl Kernot: Ever since I was young, just a little girl
I’ve been wanting someone to show me the world.
And he’s done everything and he’s been everywhere
Senator Gareth Evans was indeed Minister for Foreign Affairs under the Keating government, in addition to being the head of the ALP in the upper house.He’s Gareth Evans, my Foreign Affair

Gareth Evans: My heart’s in peril, Cheryl
Surely I will fall
Cheryl Kernot: Heavens, Mister Evans
How I tremble at your call
Gareth & Cheryl: But we owe it to our parties to try to break that spell
Both Evans and Kernot were married, although Kernot has since divorced.Cheryl Kernot: And also, aren’t you married?

Gareth Evans: Yes I am – that as well!

You get under my skin like no woman before
And by the bear on my chin I swear: I want more!
You’re an innocent soul, idealistic and free
But baby, baby, won’t you give your preference to me?

Cheryl Kernot:: So seductive and strong – you’re a party machine
The Australian Democrats have traditionally been a left wing party, especially in environmental matters.Though I know that it’s wrong, I’m a little too green.

Gareth Evans: You’re such a lady of light!
Cheryl Kernot: Such a powerful brute!
Gareth & Cheryl: Such a thrill to nibble on forbidden fruit!

Gareth Evans: My heart’s in peril, Cheryl
Lovin’ you so much
Cheryl Kernot: Heavens, Mister Evans
How I tingle at your touch
Gareth & Cheryl: We’re equally enamoured, but differently aligned
Gareth Evans: And also, aren’t you married?
Cheryl Kernot: Yes I am
Gareth Evans: As am I!
Gareth & Cheryl: Never mind!
Why – i – yi – i -yi – i – yi?
Gareth Evans: Oh Cheryl…
Cheryl Kernot: Gareth…

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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.


Alexander Downer was (briefly) Leader of the Opposition from May 23, 1994 to January 26, 1995. He was sufficiently ineffective in the role that he was replaced by his party before he could lead them in an election campaign. In addition, this line directly homages the song “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee” from the musical Grease.Downer: Look at me, I’m Alexander D.
Downer became leader mostly because Peter Costello drove his campaign, in exchange for the number two spot. Later, Costello would make a similar deal with Howard.Opposition Leader – now how’d that come to be?
No idea, I woke up and I was here
Downer once wore fishnets to raise money for charity (in 1996). In the musical, he appears dressed in a manner reminiscent of Dr Frank-N-Furter from the “Rocky Horror Picture Show”.Lookin’ like a superstar and feelin’ queer.
Downer is a third generation politician. His father, Sir Alec Downer, also reached cabinet rank in federal politics, then was High Commissioner in London from 1964 to 1972. His grandfather, Sir John Downer, was twice Premier of South Australia and a Senator in the first federal Parliament in 1901. Downer himself was noted for his debating skills in his earlier years – he did less well in the rough and tumble of Parliament.Old money – and I’m a master of debate
Five minutes – and I might just meet my fate

‘Cos I’m too freaky
I’m a greasy-cheek freak
I’m a leader of tomorrow,
but I won’t be ‘round next week
‘cos I’m too freaky (too freaky)
twisted to the bone
and I’m thinkin’ that I’m sinkin’ like a stone…

But it’s a chance in a million
That’s put me in this place
It’s destiny that you and me
should square off face to face
Keating: Well that’s lovely, Alexander,
and may the best man win
William Buckley (1780 – January 30, 1856) was an English convict who was transported to Australia, escaped, was given up for dead and lived in an Aboriginal community for many years. Buckley’s improbable survival is believed by many Australians to be the source of the vernacular phrase “Buckley’s chance” (or simply “Buckley’s”), which means “no chance”, or “it’s as good as impossible”. Another possible source of this phrase is a pun off the name of department store, Buckley & Nunn.Downer: Ah, fuck me, I’ve got Buckley’s in the state I’m in –
Pull the pin!
Too Freaky
Band: Too Freaky

Look at you, you don’t know what to do
Never thought a man could be so Lib’ral through and through
Yes I know, they wanna drag me back below
The Liberal party slogan at this time was: “The Things That Matter” and Downer once joked that the party’s domestic violence policy would accordingly be named the “things that batter”, referring to abusive husbands. This was only the best known of his numerous gaffes.But I’ve got the things that batter –
Band: Matter –
Downer: oh bugger! – here I go now!
Screaming Lord Sutch, 3rd Earl of Harrow, born David Edward Sutch (10 November 1940 – 16 June 1999) was an English musician and aspirant politician, and founder of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party.I’m way loony – I’m like Screamin’ Lord Sutch
They’ll screw me –
I’m just much much much much much much much much
much much much much much much much much…….
much too freaky

I’m a greasy-cheek freak
A leader of tomorrow,
but I won’t be ‘round next week
‘cos I’m too freaky
Band: too freaky
Downer: utterly defiled
C’mon, Australia, let’s get wild, wild, wild,

I’m too freaky…
Band: Oohh too freaky
Downer: Oh my lord, I’m too freaky
Band: He’s so freaky
Downer: T-t-twisted to the bone
Band: He’s really freaky
Downer: Oh my lord, I’m too freaky,
Band: Freaky
Downer: Freaky
Band: Freaky
Downer: Freaky
Downer: (Whispers) FREAKY!

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The Arse End Of The Earth

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.


PMC = Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.Evans: Another morning in the PMC
CAD = Current Account Deficit.We’ve got the latest on the CAD
GDP = Gross Domestic Product.It’s only four percent of GDP
NAB = National Australia Bank.But it’s causing little tremors at the NAB

AME = Australian Multimedia Enterprise. The AME was a particular favourite of Keating’s, but was forever being sidelined in favour of more urgent projects. The internet revolution that was just starting in Keating’s years as PM went on to leave Australia somewhat behind in the years that followed.You want your funding for the AME?
ERC = Expenditure Review Committee.We’ll have to sneak it past the ERC
PMO = Prime Minister’s Office; GNE = Gross National Expenditure.And the PMO observers of the GNE are nervous
ALP = Australian Labor Party. The party led by Keating.It’s another day of service in the ALP

Keating: My land is burning with bureaucracy, too scared to contemplate its worth
Inert and dreaming of democracy
Too struck by sun
To get things done
In his memoir, published in 1994 while Keating was still PM, Bob Hawke alleged that Keating referred to Australia as The Arse End of the World and claimed that if he were not made leader he’d be quit of it soon – which was widely seen as ‘proof’ of Keating’s lack of patriotism. Whether or not Keating said this, it does sound like his idiom.
(Keating still lives in Sydney today.)
at the arse end of the earth

Evans: Another morning in the monarchy
RAC = Republican Advisory Committee. The group organised by Keating to evaluate what an Australian republic might look like.We’ve got the model from the RAC
About as minimal as it can be
OBE = Order of the British Empire, a well-known decoration often bestowed on its more loyal servants by the Crown.But you might have blown your chances for an OBE

They’re gonna try to pull the train off track
Keating’s conservative opponents were quick to complain about his perceived disrespect toward the Queen, provoking Keating’s sarcastic response:
“I should never have made that remark about independence to the Queen of this continent. I should have had more respect. How dare I even reflect modestly on the British bootstraps stuff?”
They’re lining up to fly the Union Jack
‘Tyranny of Distance: How Distance Shaped Australia’s History’ is the title of an influential book on Australian history written by Geoffrey Blainey.With the tyranny of distance,
the path of least resistance
During a Royal visit to Australia, Keating allegedly touched the Queen’s back – an incident which conservative elements of the media and politics in both the UK and Australia reacted to as if he had defiled some sacred item.And you gave the Queen assistance when you goosed her back

Keating in Parliament on 28/4/92:
I am proud of Australia. It is not Britain. We are not British. We are Australians. That is the point. Honourable members opposite do not understand that this is the Australian nation; this is not the British nation. They can never grasp it. They could not grasp it in the Second World War. Menzies, their founder, tried to separate and distinguish Britain’s interests from those of Australia and, in the end, could not. Curtin, free of any pangs of loyalty to Britain, brought the troops home. This the Liberal Party’s founder called a blunder. To bring our troops back from the Middle East to defend our continent from a Japanese invasion, Menzies called a blunder…
At some stage when Australia has a flag of its own, unambiguously Australian, people will look back on these debates in Hansard and they will giggle at the remarks of the honourable member for Bennelong (Howard) and the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition (Hewson), just as today we giggle at the ones made in 1943. The fact is that those opposite do not comprehend the notion of nationhood; they do not advance our nationhood; they have never understood it; they have always thought it subordinate and derivative. It is not, and it never will be while ever the flag of Labor flies in this country.
Keating: We have one golden opportunity to see our brand new flag unfurled
To rise with shining eyes in unity
It’s hard to stand
With heads in sand
at the arse end of the world

Keating / Evans: We can move this world
We can change this place
Keating’s early experiences in Parliament and observations of the bureaucracy left him with the sense that incrementalism was the favoured way to make changes by most of his predecessors. As the song suggests, it was not a method he himself favoured – he once commented that “The great curse of modern political life is incrementalism.”Shifting inch by inch
At a glacial pace
Take it step by step
Build it brick by brick
Important innovations
And delicate equations
I’m running out of patience, can we make this quick?
Quick, quick, quick, quick…

ACT = Australian Captial Territory, the area of Australia where Canberra, the national capital, is located.Evans: Another morning in the ACT
The first two lines of Advance Australia Fair are: ‘Australians all let us rejoice, for we are young and free’.Remind Australia that we’re young and free
But every channel seems to disagree
ABC = Australian Broadcasting Corporation, a government funded channel which has tended over the years to be one of the harshest critics of sitting governments in the Australian media. The three notes that are played after this line are a take on a longtime station identity theme used by the ABC.With the possible exception of the ABC

We’re getting hammered by the tabloid press
Rupert Murdoch is an Australian born media magnate who owns conservative media outlets in Australia, the UK and the US. The Fox network is the best known of these.We must be pissing Rupert off, I guess
‘Cos they’re calling us elitist and the polling is defeatist
SBS = Special Broadcasting Service, a government-funded channel that specialises in programming aimed at non-English speakers. It was originally a Hawke-era initiative, but also a notable favourite of Keating, who presided over a considerable expansion of its services during his years as PM.So we hope that every street is watching SBS – oh yes! – oh yes!

In his Australia Day 1992 speech, Keating stated his belief that “we must re-make Australia”.Keating: We hear the siren song of destiny, a call to rapturous rebirth
On ANZAC Day 1992, Keating visited the site of the Kokoda Memorial in Papue New Guinea. He made a speech in which he called for a re-evaluation of the comparative importance of Gallipolli and Kokoda to the nation, its history and its sense of self.Keating: We dare to recognise our history
The future’s bright
For black and white
at the arse end of the earth

Keating / Evans: What better place to make your base than the arse – end – of – the – earth?

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Antony Green

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.


Okay, so technically this song has only two words worth of actual lyrics – the title – with the rest being scatted vocals, but since 1993 was a long time ago, the identities of the faces seen in this song may be hard to remember. In order of appearance, they are:

Kerry O’Brien is one of Australia’s most respected journalists – a six time Walkley Award winner, long time host of The 7:30 Report and for years ABC’s host of each election night special.
Robert Ray was an ALP Senator for Victoria from 1981 through to 2008. Notably, at the time of the 1993 election – and throughout the entire Keating Prime Ministership – he was Minister for Defence.
Michael Kroger is a long time power-broker in the Liberal Party, who served as President of the Victorian division of the party from 1987 to 1992 and has remained active in the party ever since. He expected a victory for his party in 1993, which is illustrated in the musical by his expression after the election results are called.
Antony Green is the most trusted man in Australian politics, and widely regarded as a national treasure. He is also the reason why anyone in Australia knows what a psephologist is. The reason for both of these things is that he has been the staff psephologist at the ABC since 1991, and is known to be both cautious and non-partisan in calling election results.

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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: I’ve been out there pacing
Bracing for defeat
Ready to be roasted
And I felt that demon heat
But I got lifted
Keating’s 1993 election victory was one that many considered unwinnable for the ALP. Not only did Keating win, but the ALP actually increased its lower house majority from the 1990 election by two seats.When I thought that I would fall.
Keating’s acceptance speech:
“Well, this is the sweetest victory of all, this is the sweetest. This is a victory for the true believers, the people who in difficult times have kept the faith and to the Australian people going through hard times, it makes their act of faith all that much greater.”
Now this feels like the sweetest victory of all.

I never felt too comfy
Up there on the top
Humpty Dumpty is, of course, a children’s nursery rhyme character: an animate egg who falls to the ground and shatters irretrievably.I felt like Humpty Dumpty
and I was waiting for the drop

But I got lifted
I’m floating high above the wall
Now this feels like the sweetest victory of all.

I thank my wife and son and daughters
My faithful supporters
You kept my team full of steam
I thank the people of the nation
For their validation
Keep on believing in the dream

You know that I’ve been wishin’
I had a second shot
Thanks to your decision
That’s exactly what I got
And I got lifted
Now I hear my country call
Band: We want Paul, We want Paul!
Keating: Now this feels like the sweetest victory
Now it seems like y’all wanna stick to me
Now this feels like the sweetest victory of all

The chant of ‘We want Paul’ and Keating’s response, ‘You got him’ both took place as Keating emerged to make his victory speech that night.Band: We want Paul! We want Paul!
Keating: You got him!
Band: We want Paul! We want Paul!
Keating: Yeah, I’m right here
Band: We want Paul! We want Paul!
Keating: Now this feels like the sweetest victory of ALL!

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On The Floor

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.


Dr John Robert Hewson was elected to Parliament in 1987, and became leader of the Liberal Party on April 3, 1990 after Andrew Peacock led the party to defeat in that year’s election. Also, the music that plays just before he sings is the distinctive opening riff of the “Dr Who” theme music.Hewson: Dr Who? Doctor Hewson!
Sit up straight when I’m talkin’ to you, son
Hewson’s policy perspective, especially in economics, was from the far right of the Liberal Party. Hewson was an outspoken admirer of Margaret Thatcher’s economic policies.the magical might from the radical right,
I’m gonna light up the night with a scheme and a dream so bright
so sit right back while we bite back,
Fightback! was the name of Hewson’s radical economic policy package, released on November 21, 1991, whose key elements were the introduction of a consumption tax called the goods and services tax (GST), the compensatory abolition of a range of other taxes such as sales tax, deep cuts in income tax for the middle and upper-middle classes, and increases in pensions and benefits to compensate the poor for the rise in prices flowing from the GST.this is called Fightback! – me and my G on the right track –
and we don’t stop ‘til we get our way: G – S – T – O – K!
Band/Hewson: Hey! Ho! Hey! Ho! Hey! Ho! Hey! Ho!

Keating: G – S – T? This is what you call salvation?
To whack taxation over the nation?
This is the bright new plan you bring?
Fifteen percent on everything?

Historically, a GST was first proposed in Australia by Keating himself in 1985. However, by 1991, the problems with a GST had become apparent after its implementation in Canada, and Keating, along with a majority of Australians, had turned against the idea.I was a stick-up kid for the capital gains,
but the feeling wanes when you grow some brains!
Poor law, so my homies say: G – S – T – no – way!
Band/Keating: Nay! No! Nay! No! Nay! No! Nay! No!

Hewson: We’re twenty points up, we’re off the charts!
We don’t need you and your bleeding hearts!
‘Trickle-Down’ economics is another name given to the style espoused by Hewson. The idea is that tax cuts for the wealthier will lead to capital investment, benefitting the economy as a whole. It is, of course, unmitigated crap.The poor and sick’ll have a trickle to suck,
One of Keating’s rebuttals of Hewson’s policies was what became known as the ‘Caring Arm’ speech, the main thrust of which was support for the welfare and other low-income group support policies that Hewson wanted to gut. Hewson’s “you give ’em a hand, they might drag you down into the muck” is a paraphrase of Keating’s paraphrase(!) of Hewson’s statement in Parliament on 20 August 1992: “I remember you saying not long ago that when they fall off the pace you will reach back and pull them up. What you mean is that you will pull everyone else down to the lowest common denominator.” Keating adroitly rephrased it to highlight the unkind, less egalitarian implications of the phrase: “that if you lean down and put an arm out to people in this country who are not as well off and who deserve support it will drag the rest of us down”.but if you give ‘em a hand, they might drag you down into the muck!

That’s why you were born to lose,
you get stuck in the shit in your shiny shoes,
and that’s why you’re gonna get blown away:
‘cos you can’t play like Doctor J!
Julius Erving, a.k.a. Dr J, was a US basketball star of the seventies, acknowleged as one of the game’s all time greats. “You can’t play like Dr,. J” was a well-known catchphrase of his.You can’t play like Doctor J
Band: You can’t play like doctor J
Hewson: You can’t play like Doctor J
Band: You can’t play like doctor J

Oh no! They sent the Doctor to get us!
Keating (as treasurer) on Hewson (as shadow treasurer) in Parliament, 31/10/89.It’s like being flogged with warm lettuce and cabbages!
Keating’s nickname for Hewson in the wake of the proposed GST, in Parliament, 19/8/92 – “This is only zealotry. This is the feral abacus at his best. This is the notion, the bean counter, where basically, again, people do not matter.”The feral abacus! Come to savage us!
He must be ravenous! Ravenous!
Keating on Hewson – “I’d put him in the same class as the rest of them: mediocrity.” The Bunyip Aristocracy line was actually Keating on Andrew Peacock, in Parliament, 7/12/83: “He is part of the bunyip aristocracy, a remnant of the failed upper class, one of the crowd who reside in Melbourne and govern Australia. He is supposed to be let off while the rest of us are supposed to pay the penalty.” – Casey didn’t think it hurt to cross that one over onto Hewson, though it suits him nowhere near as well, not least because Hewson is not from Melbourne.‘Mister Mediocrity, from the bunyip aristocracy’,
the Member for Wentworth should be in bed,
From this exchange in Parliament, 14/11/86:
Keating: Yesterday, on another personal matter against me, we had old dozy over there, the honourable member for Wentworth, up on a question about the VIP flights–
Carlton: Madam Speaker, I take a point of order. I would have thought that personal abuse was uncalled for. Madam Speaker, I ask that you ask the Treasurer to withdraw.
Speaker: I did not hear what the Treasurer said. I ask him to withdraw it if it is offensive.
Keating: I was implying that the honourable member for Wentworth was like a lizard on a rock-alive, but looking dead.
he’s like a lizard on a rock – alive, but lookin’ dead.
Old Dozy knows when I’ve got ‘im,
Keating on Hewson: “He always turns around when I drop one on him. He can’t psychologically handle it.”he always turns around when I drop one on ‘im,
it’s somethin’ he can’t psychologically handle,
Keating in Parliament, 8/3/84: “So Opposition members should not come that tawdry line with us. The fact is that they are the thugs of Australian politics. They are the constitutional vandals of Australia. They are greedy for power. They would rip up the Constitution, attack any convention or any individual to get their own way.”him and his band of constitutional vandals,
Drones: Keating assailed by interjections in Parliament, 26/5/1983 – “Mr Deputy Speaker, can I get some protection from the drones on the back benches?”
Pansies: Not actually about the Liberal Party; directed (in the sense of collateral damage) at the Democrats and their fellow senators. Keating in Parliament, 5/11/92: “This Party of ours absolutely opposes the GST as an inequitable, unuseful and totally unfair tax. But let us not hide behind this indignation about these pansies in the Senate.”
Frauds: Keating in Parliament, 28/10/82 – “Yet honourable members opposite use this argument about smearing. They have smeared people for years. They have always regarded themselves as having a God-given right to run Australia and now, like a lot of lackeys, they are trying to protect the people behind them in the establishment who have had their fingers in the public till. They are trying to protect reputations that such people do not deserve. We are about exposing them for the frauds that they are.”
Mugs: Keating in Parliament, 21/9/85 – “Honourable members opposite, as members of the so-called party of managers, may think that they have the allegiance of business in this country; they do not. Business thinks that they are mugs and hillbillies; and it is right.”
drones and pansies, frauds and mugs,
Blackguards: Keating in Parliament, 16/9/85 – “The people have a very clear choice to make at the next election-to have a party in government with some decency and guts or the blackguards on the front bench of the Opposition.”
Harlots: Keating in Parliament, 14/5/85 – “While all the fiscal and tax harlots opposite jump on the boat of opportunism they will be left in the gutter of fiscal irresponsibility from whence they came and where they belong.”
Pigs: Keating in Parliament, 12/11/85 – “They were running a swill of an economy… a pigsty, and that was the limit of their capacity.”
Thugs: see above annotation for Constitutional vandals.
blackguards, harlots, pigs and thugs,
Mindless & Useless: Keating in Parliament, 11/11/86 – “These are the absolute gutter tactics of a mindless, useless, idealist, unprincipled Opposition.”
Foul mouthed grub: Keating to Wilson Tuckey in Parliament, 19/2/86.
you mindless stupid foul-mouthed grubs,
Keating in Parliament, 16/9/86 – “Yet Opposition members talk about the Opposition’s credentials and how it advises the Government. The Opposition crowd could not raffle a duck in a pub.”you couldn’t even raffle a chook in a pub!

Barnyard bullies: actually about the National Party leadership, Keating in Parliament 3/11/83 – “In the meantime, the barnyard bullies, the Leader of the National Party and his deputy…”
Ghouls: on the Nationals again, in Parliament 3/11/83 – “Meanwhile, the ghouls of the National Party of Australia sit beside the Liberal Party members in this House, hoping for the day of the great rapprochement between the conservative parties: The bushrangers get together with the city slickers.”
Dullards: in Parliament, 16/10/85 – “It has not penetrated the dullards on the other side of the House that a business or government can still entertain, but at its own cost.”
Dummies & Dimwits”: in Parliament, 21/11/85 – “How thick these people are! We can actually publish these numbers and discuss them for weeks and months, yet these dummies and dimwits opposite cannot understand what we are saying to them.”
Barnyard bullies, crims and ghouls, dullards, dimwits,
Ninnies: in Parliament, 27/3/85 – “The ninnies opposite may laugh, but basically the members of the Opposition have not got a serious thought in their heads about trying to run an economic policy.”
Clowns: under fire again in Parliament, 28/3/84 – “Mr Speaker, can I have some protection from the clowns on the front bench opposite?”
Fools: in Parliament, 8/3/84 – “It is our role as the Government of Australia to protect the High Court of Australia against lunatics and fools like members of the Opposition who would put the whole constitutional fabric of Australia at risk.”
Born-to-rules: in Parliament, 26/3/87 – “The Opposition has never cared about ordinary Australians. It has always been the party born to rule-the born to rule squad out there to run the rest of us. The only place where the Opposition got into trouble is that a few of us on this side of the House think that we are born to rule the Opposition. And we are doing a pretty good job of it, and we will keep on doing a pretty good job of it.”
ninnies, clowns and fools and born-to-rules,
over here we’re born to rule you,
Dishonest crew: in Parliament, 11/11/86 – “The Opposition is such a motley, dishonest crew.”
“Almost make me spew”: in Parliament, 17/9/85 – “What really amuses me and almost makes me spew are the terms of this matter of public importance…”
you dishonest crew, you almost make me spew!
“intellectual hobos”: in Parliament, 20/3/86 – “Yet no such forethought and no such conceptual thinking was ever in the minds of these intellectual hobos who attack us for having some inconsistency–“Loopy intellectual hoboes!
Brain-damaged: in Parliament, 30/11/83 – “Mr Speaker, do we get any protection from the brain-damaged Deputy Leader of the Opposition [Howard]?”
Dummies: see above annotation for Dimwits.
Desperadoes: in Parliament, 27/11/85 – “All the former Government had was an overvalued exchange rate which cut our manufacturing industries to pieces and ruined our export markets, and a monetary policy which ground the economy into the ground, never fixed inflation and gave us double digit unemployment. Talk about desperados!”
Brain-damaged dummies and desperadoes!
Hare-brained: in Parliament, 17/9/85 – “a hare-brained proposition from the honourable member for Mackellar”Hare-brained hillbilly cheats! cheats! cheats!
Keating in Parliament, 17/9/85 – “If he [Howard] wants to go stumping the country on whether this country has a tax system in which decent, ordinary Australians are not ripped off by all the bludgers and parasites and one in which decent people are entitled to a decent go with fairer rates, they will have a very clear choice-a vote for us or a vote for coalition members who have always been cheats, cheats, cheats. They will always be cheats, cheats, cheats, and will always defend cheats, cheats, cheats.”will always be cheats! cheats! cheats!
Clots: Keating in Parliament, 18/2/86 – “Why don’t you go and read it, you clot?”useless motley corporate crooks and clots!
Stunned-mullet: Keating in Parliament, 29/11/83 – “He would have no idea about how to restrain wages in a recovery. He would sit back like a stunned mullet…”
Rust bucket: Keating on Peacock, in Parliament, 6/6/84 – “What we have here is an intellectual rust bucket. The bucket might be painted up , but there is rust underneath the duco.”
Boxheads”: in Parliament, 21/9/85, to Tuckey again – “You boxhead, you would not know. You are flat out counting past 10.”
stunned-mullet rustbucket boxheads!
Scumbags: in Parliament, 22/9/84 – “You were heard in silence, so some of you scumbags on the front bench should just wait a minute until you hear the responses from me.”
Alley cats: in Parliament, 26/5/83, over Michael Hodgman’s interjections – “Do not worry about him, Mr Deputy Speaker. He has got the political morals of an alley cat.”
scumbags! and alley cats!
You wanna fight back?
Hewson released a revised version of Fightback on December 18, 1992, which did succeed in regaining some of the polling ground he’d lost to Keating’s attacks.Fight back! Fight back from that!

Hewson: Well, alright, you think you’ve got it made?
Then let the game be played –
why are you so afraid?
You’ve got the cheek to critique
and shriek that we’re weak –
let the people decide! Let the public speak!
Make a correction! Call an election!
Show us your miraculous resurrection!
If the people hate me and you’re so great,
why you wanna make me wait?

Keating: Becaaaauuuse….

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