Published on March 3rd, 2008 | by Hans Fruck


Keating v Albrechtsen — There Will Be Blood

Paul Keating wrote in to The Australian, and he wasn’t happy with Janet:

OVER the years and in the many pieces Janet Albrechtsen has written where she has mentioned me, I have never responded to her provocations.

No articles, no letters to the editor, nothing.

But on Wednesday, she was at it again, warning Kevin Rudd that Keating’s embrace of sophisticated elites is the road to electoral oblivion because the Keating agenda was anathema to the wider electorate. People must be so tired of this nonsense.

Were the 2.5 million people who got jobs during my years not part of the wider electorate? Were the children whose retention to Year 12 going from three in 10 in 1983 to nine in 10 in 1996, not part of the wider electorate? Were the 10 million in the workforce who got access to national compulsory superannuation, for the first time, not part of the wider electorate? Or the people given a leg up from long-term unemployment under the unique Working Nation programs, not part of the wider electorate? Were the millions of women and young people protected by the safety net under the Keating government’s 1993 enterprise bargaining legislation, not part of the wider electorate?

Albrechtsen’s journalism is nothing more than belligerent and partisan fiction. She is simply a blackguard. And an exceptionally dull one at that.

Albrechtsen, for her own part, of course, was not part of any elite. The ear of a prime minister and a cabinet for a decade, which finally enjoyed control of both houses of parliament; membership of a clique of journalists, sharing common cause, with unfettered access to the opinion pages of the broadsheet newspapers of the country – nothing elitist about that.

Albrechtsen was, until the last federal election, among the most elite of the elite, yet she seeks to stigmatise people who have dedicated their lives to the interests of the broader population including and especially, the disadvantaged.

Albrechtsen’s beef is with that group which forms the cosmopolitan core of the country. The Oxford dictionary describes cosmopolitan as of or from or knowing many parts of the world; free from national limitations or prejudices. In other words, people of the world, unprejudicial of others, appreciating cultural differences and attitudes. In general, being tolerant, understanding and respectful of other people, including their origins and beliefs.

These are the people Albrechtsen and her bigot mates brand as elites. People not of the mono-culture; of the old Australia; of the Howard world of Sunday schools and scout jamborees and Menzian regard. The people who knew their place. An objection to the very same people who Hitler, as party leader of the national socialists, described in his 1929 editorial in the Volkischer Beobachter as the cosmopolitan 10,000. The very same lot. The natural enemies of jingoism.

Albrechtsen’s objection is to cosmopolitan Australia; to those people who will not accept the tawdry name-calling and labelling that are part and parcel of her political incorrectness.

Will someone at The Australian take this loony tune off its pages? Her journalism is not national debate. It is not reasoned argument. It is not even polite difference of opinion. It is vilification of the most addled variety. The Australian celebrates itself as a right-wing newspaper priding itself on some intellectualism. Even in its terms, it should draw the line somewhere.

Albrechtsen is a no-talent proselytiser for causes overtaken by history and events.

If not for the rest of us, perhaps for the paper’s own sake, will someone summon the courage to give her the pink slip?

Paul Keating
Sydney, NSW

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