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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The Beginning Is The End

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: Now you’ve made it to the top
The ‘Bodgies’ were an Australian youth subculture in the Fifties and Sixties, very similar to the English ‘Teddy Boy’ subculture. Bob Hawke was widely known as ‘the Silver Bodgie.’ In addition, “dislodged” is a pun on the Prime Ministerial residence in Canberra, The Lodge.And the Bodgie is dislodged
Say a prayer for him and look
at the punches that you took
and the bullets that you dodged

As you walk up to the door
As you slowly turn the key
You will walk out on a limb
Where the bell that tolls for him
A paraphrase of the famous line written in 1624 by John Donne in his Meditation XVII: “Therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee“.Is the one that tolls for thee

My friend, the beginning is the end
From the entrance to the bow
Your time starts now
My friend, the beginning is the end
Even now it lurks beyond that door…

Keating: Gareth Evans served Keating both as Minister for Foreign Affairs and also as leader of the ALP in the Senate. Famously, on December 6, 1990, Evans became the first Australian senator to say “fuck” on the Senate floor. Although not intended that way originally, the repetition of Gareth mirrors Evans being mocked as ‘Gareth-Gareth Evans’, has also been interpreted as a reference to Boutros-Boutros Ghali and Evans’ own UN ambitions.Gareth, Gareth, tell me more.

Gareth Evans: There’s a spirit in the Lodge
Chills the marrow in your bones
And the ghostly voice you hear
It’ll fill you full of fear
Alan Jones was a radio shock jock based in Sydney. He was an outspoken critic of the Keating government, and of every other government to the left of Attila the Hun.Even more than Alan Jones

You can hear it every night
Hear it echo down the halls
It’s the company you keep
Annita van Iersel was a former air stewardess and wife of Paul Keating during his time as Prime Minister. She and Keating’s four children lived at The Lodge during these years.When Annita’s fast asleep
And from deep inside the walls it calls…

Gough Whitlam was the Prime Minister from 1972 to 1975. A member of the ALP and something of a mentor to Keating, he holds the distinction of being the only Australian Prime Minister to have been dismissed from office by the Crown, in the 1975 constitutional crisis.Gough Whitlam: My friend, the beginning is the end
A paraphrase of Whitlam’s infamous response to the proclomation dismissing him as Prime Minister, which ended with the traditional words, “God Save the Queen”: “Ladies and gentlemen, well may we say “God Save the Queen,” because nothing will save the Governor-General…” Keating had the unenviable job of warming up the crowd for Gough before that speech.So you think you know the way – well may you say
My friend, the beginning is the end
A paraphrase of the title of Dylan Thomas’ poem “Do not go gentle into that good night.” The following words paraphrase another line from the same poem: “Rage, rage against the dying of the light” in the form of Whitlam’s famous exhortation to ALP supporters in the 1977 election, following the Dismissal.So do not go gentle from that stage: Maintain your rage!

Whitlam / Evans: Maintain your rage!

All: Maintain your rage!
Maintain your rage!
Maintain your rage!

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It’s Time

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’s hobby of collecting antique clocks has been the subject of much mockery from both the Opposition and the media, and is often cited as evidence of his perceived ‘elitism’.Keating: I’ve made a habit of collecting clocks
Sleek antiques with ticks and tocks
Didn’t you ever wonder why?
I hear the seconds as a perfect space
Pushed together in relentless pace
The beat of a moment passing by
And every face is like the moon to me
Full of hope and opportunity
Pulled in the orbit of its hands
My tide is high and my chance is nigh
I’ve got to take it and you know why
Somewhere inside you, there’s a man that understands:

‘It’s Time’ was famously the slogan of Gough Whitlam’s Labor Party when they were elected to government in 1972 after a record 23 years in Opposition – a government which Keating was a member of.It’s time! Time, the revelator,
destroyer and creator,
no-one gets to wait on time!
time to start afresh, we
know we’re only flesh and
bones and so it’s precious time!
Whoa it’s time!

The Opposition take a different tack
They wind it down and they turn it back
They don’t like to hear that sound
But time is slipping past them everyday
‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ is a famous story by Oscar Wilde, in which the titular portrait ages and experiences in the place of its subject. When the picture is destroyed, all that it has borne comes flooding back to Gray.Just like “The Picture of Dorian Gray”
And it’s they, they who come unwound

Keating / Hawke: For evolution needs time to move
Just like a drummer beats time to groove
And it never can stand still
Keating: The revolution of a second hand
Is the solution that I must demand
Keating challenged Hawke a second time on December 19, 1991. This time, he was victorious, 56 votes to 51.A change is gonna come now,
you know it always will
Keating / Hawke: in time!

Keating: time is of the essence
I know that it’s unpleasant but
no time like the present time!
time won’t be denied and
though you try to hide you
know it’s on my side

Hawke: it’s time!
time to make a break, it’s
time for you to take it,
whip it out and shake it,

Keating / Hawke: time!
Keating: time and time again, you
might have dug the venue,
now you’re on the menu,
Oh it’s time!

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The Ruler Of The Land

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 thought this moment would be nervous
But tonight I’m full of joy
I bless my twenty years of service
Bankstown is Keating’s home town, and Blaxland is the electorate it is located in – also Keating’s, during his years in Parliament.As a Blaxland Bankstown boy

A chance to make the nation richer
An opportunity to see
A wider screen, a bigger picture
And you gave that chance to me – I take it with glee!

‘Cos I am the ruler of the land
They tell me I’m the man –
Band: who da man?
Keating: who da man?
Band: you the 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 the man!
Keating: – yes I am.
but… but… but…

I am the ruler of a nation torn
By redneck scorn of the native born
Aboriginal reconciliation, including an acknowledgment, apology and reparations for the European invasion, was a major goal of Keating’s years as PM. Keating wanted to make a treaty, but was widely opposed in this goal.Can we finally have a treaty please?
Apologies to Aborigines?

Nowadays I’m quite persuaded
A nation takes its share of blame
The white man certainly invaded
The past will always stay the same

Show me something of our future
Smarter, wiser, less afraid
Put the mozz on every moocher
Let the nation be remade – I must be obeyed!

‘Cos I am the ruler of the land
They tell me I’m the man –
Band: who da man?
Keating: who da man?
Band: you the 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 the man!
Keating: – yes I am.
but… but… but…

I am the servant of a distant queen
Who can overween and intervene
Republicanism was one of Keating’s major policies – he believed that becoming a republic would help Australia to show its independence and assume its rightful place in the world.Can we finally make her obsolete?
Stand complete on our own two feet?

Keating went to a lot of trouble to repair and enhance Australia’s ties with Indonesia, up to and including a security treaty.And wouldn’t it be nice to get on with your neighbour?
Engagement with Asia was painted by Keating as both geographical and economic good sense. Keating pursued this goal through extensive diplomacy with Asian nations and the formation of APEC.And make it very clear: Australia part of Asia?
And wouldn’t it be good just hangin’ in the hood
To lend a cup of sugar like a neighbor should?
And wouldn’t it be sweet talkin’ over the fence,
Prime Minister Mohamad Malathir of Malaysia was one of the least receptive to Keating’s plans for APEC, which he refused to attend. Keating commented that “APEC is bigger than all of us – Australia, the U.S. and Malaysia, and Dr. Mahathir and any other recalcitrants” – sparking a minor diplomatic incident.
Even other polticians such as John Howard and Pauline Hanson (who called out Malathir on his racism) sympathised with Keating on this one: Malathir was, in Howard’s diplomatic phrasing ‘a difficult person.’
Evans/Keating: Recalcitrance becoming common sense?

Keating: Now, now
Let me now address the chamber
In American politics, the Republicans use red as their signature colour, while the Democrats use blue. In Australia, the ALP is usually given the red colour and the Liberal-National coalition the blue, which reverses the political alignments of the US. (No prizes for guessing what colour the Greens get.)Everyone from red to blue
“well I’m talkin’ to you!”
Yes, I’m at the end of the rainbow
In Irish folklore, leprechauns lived at the end of rainbows, where they kept their pots of gold. Keating was very proud of his Irish roots, and may possibly have seen himself as a leprechaun – although if so, he was smart enough not to say so in public.And now I hold a pot of gold for you
Here’s the gist of my agenda:
‘Advance Australia Fair’ is the national anthem of Australia.Let’s advance Australia fair.
No retreat and no surrender
‘Til we get our nation there – I solemnly swear!

‘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 the man!
Keating: – yes I am.
On May 14, 1986, Keating warned in a radio interview that Australia was in danger of becoming a banana republic. Unfortunately, this comment was most often reported and interpreted as him saying that Australia was a banana republic.Band: Top banana republic man

Keating: – oh!
Band: Top banana republic man
Keating: – Yes I am
Band: Top banana republic man
Keating: – I am the ruler of the land
Band: Top banana republic man
Keating: – Yes! Yes I am
Band: Top banana republic man
Keating: – I am the ruler of the land
Band: Top banana republic man
Keating: – And they tell me I’m the man
Band: who da man?
Keating: who da man?
Band: you the man!
Keating: I am!!

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I Remember Kirribilli

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: Canberra’s never lonelier or colder
Keating challenged Hawke for the leadership on June 3, 1991 – he lost, with 44 votes to Hawke’s 66.Than when you feel the heartbreak of defeat
You’ll never find a sympathetic shoulder
On any bureaucratic street
So when I must forgive or be forgiven
When all my best-laid plans have gone astray
Lake Burley Griffin is an artificial lake in Canberra created by and named for Walter Burley Griffin, the designer of Canberra. I head down to the shores of Burley Griffin
And try to wash the pain away

In wintertime, the water cuts you chilly
Walter dug it oh so deep
Kirribilli House is an official residence of the Prime Minister in Sydney, located bayside in the suburb of the same name. And I remember Kirribilli
The promise that he did not keep

He looked me in the eye across the table
Hawke and Keating made a private agreement in 1988 that Hawke would yield the leadership of the ALP (and thus, the Prime Ministership) to Keating after the 1990 election, but then reneged on the deal. He looked at me and swore he’d step aside
I gave him my support and kept him stable
He looked me in the eye and lied
At the Christmas 1991 Press Dinner, Keating described himself as the Placido Domingo of Australian politics: “sometimes great, and sometimes not great, but always good.”I dreamed that I was Placido Domingo
Ready for the spotlight and applause
Ernie Dingo is a sometimes controversial celebrity of Aboriginal descent, best know for having hosted travel and lifestyle show “The Great Outdoors” since 1993.But maybe I’ll end up like Ernie Dingo
And vanish in ‘The Great Outdoors’.

In wintertime, the water cuts you chilly,
The Lady of the Lake famously gave King Arthur the sword Excalibur, signifying by divine right that he should be king. However, it should be recalled that strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government, supreme executive power deriving instead from a mandate from the masses.And I swear I see a lady with a blade
And I remember Kirribilli
The promise that a friend once made

I want to rule, I want to lead, I know just what the people need
I thought I had it guaranteed, but then
After Keating’s failed first challenge for the leadership, Hawke removed his portfolio as Treasurer, and Keating spent the next several months as a backbencher.He threw me down in the stenches of the dank back benches,
And I never want to go back there again! Again!

Time again for daring and defiance
Time to charge the throne and take the crown
And I won’t need no iron-clad alliance
‘Old Silver’ was Keating’s private nickname for Hawke.To go for gold and bring Old Silver down…

“I’m gonna bring him down”

In wintertime, the water cuts you chilly
It purifies my soul anew
“yes it does people!”
And I, I remember Kirribilli
And I know now what I have to do,
I know now what I have to do.

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Do It In Style

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: Hey, good evening, I’m Paul
Pleased to meet you all
You had some dinner to eat, now you got a good seat
A common criticism of ALP, Democrat, Green and other left wing politicians made by those on the right is that they are members of any ‘inner city elite’ – which by extension consists of chardonay-swilling over-educated snobs who are out of touch with ‘the real Australia’. A look at the actual electoral results of almost any Australian election will disprove this.See, there’s nothing wrong with being inner-city elite
I’m the star of the show
You prob’ly already know
But if you’re out of the loop, you’ll be in need of the scoop
So let me recap so that you can recoup.

Keating was born on January 18, 1944 to Matt and Min Keating. Bankstown is a locality in Western Sydney, which transformed from a separate township to a new suburb during Keating’s childhood and adolescence. A strongly working class area, it has been an ALP stronghold for decades.I grew up on Bankstown bitumen
Mum and Dad were down in the ditch and then
they had a vision of a bigger picture, and the picture they drew – it came true!
Matt Keating, Paul’s father, was a boilermaker who started his own company with some friends. The company, Marlak Engineering, grew and prospered throughout the ’50s and ’60s. Matt Keating and his mates split about a million dollars when they sold the company in the late ’60s.It might have taken a while – But they made quite a pile
And the lesson was learned: penny saved, penny earned –
Even when in Keating’s first job at Sydney County Council Transformer Handling Bay, he wore a suit to work each day.but you might as well do it in style.

Keating actually left school at the age of 14, and joined the ALP a day before his fifteenth birthday.I left school at fifteen, made the Labor scene
I learned how to survive, watched Whitlam thrive
Keating was a backbencher for most of the tenure of the Whitlam Labor government (December 1972 – November 1975), and briefly became Minister for Northern Australia in October 1975. At the time, he was the youngest man ever to be made a Minister.And I made the front bench in Seventy-Five
Opposition was tough
But when we’d suffered enough
Keating was appointed as Shadow Treasurer on January 14, 1983 – 4 days before his 39th birthday and less than two months before the election that returned the ALP to power and made Keating Treasurer.With steely looks, we overtook the schnooks
When Keating was first appointed Treasurer after the ALP victory in 1983, he discovered that the previous Treasurer, John Howard, had lied about the size of the budget deficit, and that it was in fact greater than had been admitted by the Liberal government. Keating found this to be outrageous; Hawke later noted that it “became a stick with which we were justifiably able to beat the Liberal National Opposition for many years”.and we shook the crooks out of cooking the books

I hate that Treasury jiggery-pokery
Keating was half owner of a piggery that was a joint venture between Danish firm Danpork and Australian firm Brown and Hatton.I keep my money in a piggery locally
It’s funny but it’s okely-dokely
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. Keating was not initially a fan of the Accord, but came to see its value as his working relationship with ACTU head Bill Kelty developed.we made an Accord – Good Lord!

Why be mercantile
If you can’t crack a smile?
In Keating’s 1988 Budget speech, after delivering a record budget surplus, he stated that this budget was the one that ‘brought home the bacon’. The ‘Drover’s Dog’ remark was made by ALP leader Bill Hayden after his ouster by Hawke prior to the 1983 election. A disgruntled Hayden claimed that even a drover’s dog could lead the ALP to victory that year. Analysis of polling data suggests that he was right about that.And if you’re bringin’ home the hog for the drover’s dog,
You might as well do it in style. Boys?
Band: You might as well do it in style…

Keating: Perhaps you noticed the suit
I think it makes me look cute
A good couturier can have a lot to say
Ermenegildo Zegna is an Italian men’s fashion label whose products are much beloved of Keating. This occasionally led to criticism of him, as the suits are made (and imported from) Italy at great cost, but made from Australian wool.And when you’re in a Zegna then you’re on your way

I’m on my way to see Bob
He’s gonna give me his job
Kirribilli House is an official residence of the Prime Minister in Sydney, located bayside in the suburb of the same name.He showed a lot of nous in Kirribilli House,
On November 25, 1988, Hawke and Keating made a deal that Hawke would step aside after one more election. ACTU Secretary Bill Kelty and businessman Sir Phillip Abeles were witnesses. The deal between Hawke and Keating is sometimes referred to as the ‘Kirribilli Accord’ or ‘Kirribilli agreement’ because it was made there.he sealed a fealty deal to really douse my grouse

I’ve been a model of loyal bonhomie
It’s time to honour the deal he promised me
Because I know he’s a man of honesty
I lent him my ears – for two years!
That’s why I dress to impress
I’m on the road to success
Hey Bobby J., get outa my way,
I know the answer is
I know the answer is
I know the answer is…

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My Right Hand Man

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.


Robert James Hawke, Prime Minister of Australia from 1983 to 1991, making him the longest-serving Prime Minister to come from the ranks of the Australian Labor Party (and third longest serving overall).Bob Hawke: Let’s go back to 1990; it’s not so far away
Where with each misty morning dawns a more exciting day
Peace and love are everywhere defeating hate and greed
Margaret Thatcher, fiscally and socially conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since 1979. By Thatcher’s own account, she and Hawke mutually disliked each other. And Thatcher is resigning
West Germany and East Germany were finally re-combined into a single Germany after a separation that began in 1945 and endured for 45 years of Cold War.And Germans are uniting
Nelson Mandela, an opponent of apartheid in South Africa, spent 27 years in prison for his opposition. His release marked the end of apartheid.And even that Mandela fella’s freed:
There’s never been a better time to lead.

Here in 1990, Australia’s doing well.
In the 1987 election, Hawke promised that “by 1990 no Australian child will be living in poverty” – a promise that was quietly swept under the rug when that year arrived.No child lives in poverty as far as we can tell
And all I hear across the land’s a chorus of content
Band: Hey!
And positive appraisal and Hazel Hawke was the wife of Bob from 1956 until 1995, when she divorced for Bob and Hazel
Yes, I’m a hit with each constituent
The unemployment rate of Australia averaged 6.66% across 1990, increasing in every month except March.And unemployment’s only (inaudible) percent.

Relaxed and comfortable” was a catchphrase of the Howard government dating from the 2004 election. It has rarely been used without irony since then.It’s a comfy bloody country, comfy and relaxed,
Not too bloody up itself or too highly taxed.
It’s a lovely bloody system, that I try to understand,
There was a widespread perception that Keating was the ideas man, and Hawke the salesman – a perception shared by Keating himself.But I don’t really get it, I give much of the credit –
I’m indebted to my right-hand man –
My right hand man.

My right-hand man’s a charmer, the smoothest of the smooth
He’s got a nut for every bolt, a tongue for every groove,
Keating became Treasurer upon the election of the Hawke government in 1983, and presided over some of the most far-reaching reforms to the Australian economy ever seen.
Also, the band sing the word ‘harmony’ in, well, harmony.
A pleasurer as Treasurer, creating harmony.

On the economic levers
True Believers” is a traditional term used by the ALP to describe its faithful supporters.And he loves all you true believers
He’s the linchpin in my winning dynasty:
With him around, there’s not much use for me!

Of course, he’s quite peculiar, if that’s for me to say,
A little unAustralian in his own endearing way
Hawke is a noted fan of all kinds of sport, while Keating generally prefers more high culture pasttimes.I take him to the footy and his eyes aren’t on the ball
Gustav Mahler was a composer of the late romantic era, noted for his symphonies.And in his private parlour, he plays the works of Mahler
The strangest sound’s cascading down the hall:
Billy Thorpe is an Australian rock singer, best known for his song “Most People I Know (Think That I’m Crazy)”.It doesn’t sound like Billy Thorpe at all.

Oh it’s a comfy bloody country, ‘cos we know what’s in our hearts,
Bob Hawke notably once held a record for beer drinking, and as Prime Minister, revived the concept of the Prime Minister’s First XI: more or less a command performance first class cricket game.It’s beer and boots, Not wine and suits: Cricket – not art!
It’s a lovely bloody system,
And I’ll lead it while I can.
Just a bloke and his mates,
But if you wanna talk rates –
Look for the midnight tan
On my right-hand man.

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