Loose cannons


True believers, please note

"The employers have got to grow up and stand up. This government and the trade unions have got the inflation rate under 2% for them; now they have to help themselves to keep it there." — PM Keating, urging bosses not to give any wage rises that aren't matched by increased productivity.


"[The City of Sydney RSL club] emerged from the pit, on the verge of bankruptcy, to a position of great profitability. Certain euphoria seized the directors as a consequence of these events." — Anthony Whealy, QC, explaining why the directors had spent tens of thousands of dollars of club funds on travel and entertainment.

On balance

"There were differences of view expressed and I think, quite accurately, the decisions we made quite accurately reflects the, you know, on balance view of the Coalition." — Alexander Downer, responding to reports that he had overridden the views of the Coalition party room on racial vilification legislation.

In demand

"There are a lot of business people who have gone through some fairly difficult times in the last few years. I still do maintain a certain public image, so from time to time I do get [public speaking] requests, especially after my more recent experiences." — Former Budget rent-a-car director Bob Ansett, a few days before a Sydney magistrate committed him for trial on charges of issuing false statements in a 1988 Budget share prospectus.


"I have raised [human rights] personally with President Soeharto on just about every occasion I have met him." — Paul Keating.

One man's opinion

"I think I acted rightly." — British foreign secretary Douglas Hurd after the High Court ruled he acted illegally in authorising payments of $500 million in aid for a Malaysian dam — widely seen as a bribe to secure arms contracts worth $3 billion for British firms.