So far, Paul Keating is the only Australian Prime Minister to provide star material for a musical comedy. Who can imagine any of the others doing that?
Even before he became Prime Minister, Keating had made a name for himself as someone who could dominate Parliament with his rapid and cutting ripostes. By the time he did reach the top office, there were already book length collections of his insults and invective. Even the Liberal Party, apparently, was keeping a list. Nobody was safe, not even people on his own side of politics. Ask ‘Old Silver’.
In this book, Brian Carroll has found and arranged enough of Keating’s utterances to keep you chuckling (or clucking your tongue) for a long time.
The book begins with a short biography of Keating, just to put it all in context. Then there’s a long parade of his wit, leavened with a certain amount of his wisdom, of which there was plenty, but which too often tends to be overlooked. Being rejected by the electors did not stop him, and the book contains examples of his wit and wisdom right up to the end of 2009. As one observer put it, he brought a breath of fresh air to the wasteland of weasel words we endure.
And for those who have not seen Keating! The Musical, and even for those who have, there’s a chapter on how the show came to be and what it’s all about.
Brian Carroll has over 75 books behind him, mostly on Australian historical themes. An admitted Keating junkie, he says it gave him great joy to pull this book together. He has a Master of Arts degree with Honours in Australian History from the University of Melbourne and a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Queensland.