Historical Revisionism

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

This page is intended for informational purposes only.

 

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

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

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

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

Keating: And I’m the boss,

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

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The Light On The Hill

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

This page is intended for informational purposes only.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Choose Me

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

This page is intended for informational purposes only.

 

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

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

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

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

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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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Power

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…
BOW TO ME!

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Ma(m)bo

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.
Ready?
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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Redfern

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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Freaky

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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