KEATING HAS CHOICE WORDS FOR OLD FOES
PAUL Keating has returned to the election campaign scene for the looming Queensland poll, rallying the Labor faithful at a fundraiser in Ipswich last night.
The last time the former prime minister was here to help, was to assist embattled former premier Anna Bligh ahead of her drubbing at the 2012 poll.
This time, Labor hopes its elder statesman’s appearance will prove a good omen as it battles to win the 47 seats it needs to retain government.
Mr Keating refrained from commenting on the state of play in Queensland, saving his insults for Labor adversaries of old as he delivered the Hayden Oration – named in honour of former Labor leader and governor-general Bill Hayden.
The speech, at the Ipswich campus of the Southern Queensland University last night, raised money for Ipswich MP and Assistant Minister Jennifer Howard’s campaign.
Mr Keating described former Liberal prime minister Sir Robert Menzies as a “vacuous dandy” and Bill McMahon as “inept”.
His test for identifying true political effectiveness? “The ability to belt Liberals and really hurt them.”
Treated to a standing ovation before even uttering a word, Mr Keating used his speech to pay tribute to Mr Hayden, who was in the audience to hear the high praise.