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Keating: Conservative Story Is Simply Not Big Enough For Australia

Former Prime Minister Paul Keating has made another intervention in contemporary politics that is likely to induce apoplexy amongst conservatives.

In this speech he excoriates the role played by Australia’s conservatives. Keating says: “Their failure is not simply one of crabbiness or rancour; it’s a failure of imagination, a failure to read our historical coordinates correctly but usefully to move to a bigger construct, a bigger picture as to who we are and what we can be. That’s the real job of political leadership.

“Their timidity not only diminishes their own horizon, it is a drag on the rest of us. The country always has to make its progress despite them. They never help. They have always to be dragged along and they will only accept a new norm when someone else has struggled to put it into place.”

Transcript of the extemporaneous address delivered in Melbourne by Paul Keating at the launch of The History Wars by Stuart McIntyre.

Paul Keating, Prime Minister of Australia 1991-96The writing of The History Wars is very important. The book will sit on the shelves of libraries as a sort of code stone to help people understand the motivations of players in today’s contemporary debate. It sheds light on the political battle which is carried on in the pubs and on the footpaths about who we are and what has become of us. For the protagonists and antagonists in academe are now surrogates in a broader political battle about Australia’s future. [Read more…]