As Election Day Nears, Paul Keating Addresses The National Press Club

With his government struggling in the polls, Prime Minister Paul Keating appeared at the National Press Club on March 11, 1993, two days before the federal election.

Keating’s address is notable for its focus on Opposition Leader John Hewson’s Fightback! plan, particularly its 15% Goods and Services Tax. But Keating’s attack on Hewson is broader than just the GST. He talks of industrial relations, Medicare and a host of other policies. The address is a masterclass in Keating’s ability to construct a cohesive story around a disparate range of policies.

Keating also attacks Hewson for refusing to appear at the Press Club, breaking what was then a 20-year election tradition.

The video is 82 minutes long. It is the complete tape of Keating’s address and responses to questions. It’s worth watching in full if you’re interested in getting the full flavour of Keating’s prime ministership.

The day after this appearance, opinion polls began to show a Labor recovery. On election day, the ALP’s primary vote increased 5.49% to 44.92%. Its two-party-preferred vote increased 1.54% to 51.44%. Keating improved his majority in the House of Representatives with a net gain of 2 seats, defeating the Coalition by 80 seats to 67, with 2 independents.

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