When former prime minister Paul Keating wants to deliver a verbal blow, boy does he deliver.
The one-time Labor leader had a candid chat with Jon Faine on ABC radio in Melbourne on Tuesday and, as usual, he came up with some zinging one-liners.
Yet it was his assessment of Peter Dutton that really got people talking: “I’ve never seen any public figure as mean or mean-spirited as Peter Dutton. At this election, those electors in Dickson have a chance to drive a political stake through his dark political heart.”
Mr Dutton was evidently listening …
Paul Keating almost destroyed my Dad’s small business with his heartless mismanagement of the economy & he inspired me to join the Liberal Party.
— Peter Dutton (@PeterDutton_MP) May 14, 2019
Keating’s splash of verbal colour on Day 34 of the campaign got us thinking of his other imaginative insults.
Keating’s Greatest Hits
“I am not like the Leader of Opposition. I did not slither out of the Cabinet room like a mangy maggot …” (1992)
– Keating has a go at the Opposition Leader John Hewson
“The little desiccated coconut is under pressure and he is attacking anything he can get his hands on.” (2007)
– Keating lets rip on John Howard
“It was the limpest performance I have ever seen … it was like being flogged with a warm lettuce. It was like being mauled by a dead sheep.” (1989)
– Hewson cops it for his debate performance
“The answer is, mate – ‘because I wanna do you slowly’ … and in the psychological battle stakes, we are stripped down and ready to go.” (1992)
– On Hewson again
“Well, the thing about poor old Costello, he’s all tip and no iceberg.” (2007)
– Keating takes dig at treasurer Peter Costello
Well that was a digression … onwards to election campaign news.
Where were our leaders?
Both leaders were frequent flyers on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison started his day in Western Australia before flying to South Australia, where he visited the seat of Boothby. He later went to Tasmania and campaigned in Burnie and Launceston.
Labor leader Bill Shorten was also in South Australia wooing voters in, you guessed it, Boothby. Later he headed to Perth.
Promises … Promises
Liberal: Scott Morrison continued to talk up his proposed measures to assist first home buyers.
Labor: The ALP talked up plans to reduce waiting lists for hospitals and elective surgeries and to help pensioners pay for dental treatment.
.@billshortenmp on franking credits: This is a hard reform. Doesn’t it move your hearts when you hear that pensioners can’t afford to go to the dentist?
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) May 14, 2019
Quotes from the road
“I spoke to Julie yesterday, and she sent me a text this morning and she said there’s no difference of view between her and I.”
– Mr Morrison on Julie Bishop
“In the event we’re elected next Saturday, one of our first acts will be to withdraw from the old government’s meaningless, insipid, useless submission.”
– Mr Shorten on Labor’s plan to fight for increased wages at the Fair Work Commission
“The Greens are far more extreme than Clive Palmer or One Nation.”
– Former PM John Howard makes his thoughts on the Greens clear
Elsewhere on the trail
Greens candidate steps down: Greens candidate for the sprawling NSW seat of Parkes David Paull has quit over a social media post, claiming Martin Bryant didn’t commit the Port Arthur massacre.
The allegations were reported in The Australian and Mr Paull quickly distanced himself, saying he no longer had those views.
That takes the number of candidates who have dropped out to 15.
PM does not believe gay people will go to hell: Mr Morrison said on Tuesday he was running for prime minister, not Pope.
The comments came as Mr Shorten criticised the PM for refusing to say he did not believe gay people would go to hell.
Mr Morrison said theological questions had no place in an election campaign. He later clarified he did not believe gay people will go to hell.
Statement from Scott Morrison saying he doesn’t believe gay people go to hell: “No, I do not believe that. It was a desperate, cheap shot from Bill Shorten who is looking to distract attention from his housing tax that will undermine the value of people’s homes.” #auspol
— Tom McIlroy (@TomMcIlroy) May 14, 2019
Early voting numbers continue to skyrocket: The AEC reported on Monday that 2.6 million Australians have lodged their ballots, four days out from polling day. The same time in 2016, 1.5 million had voted.
— AEC (@AusElectoralCom) May 13, 2019
Pauline Hanson has labelled former One Nation candidate Fraser Anning a “racist” and accused him of trying to be “another Pauline Hanson”.
Yes, you read that correctly … Ms Hanson had a few people confused.
Not sure you've thought this one through, Pauline. pic.twitter.com/sLisFQ7zYU
— Rob Stott (@Rob_Stott) May 14, 2019