Loose cannons

Issue 

Hard times 1

"It's very difficult to drive into the office at nine on a Friday morning, fire 10 people and get into a $150,000 Mercedes and drive away again." — Ron Klein, managing director of Klein and Associates, on the social stigma of owning a prestige car.

Hard times 2

"I get the feeling that people standing at the bus stop looking at me in my Mercedes envy me rather than respect or admire my achievements in being able to afford my car." — Another suffering Mercedes driver.

Truth

"Some young people in jobs could end up with lower wages than what they're getting now ... [this] may not be a politically astute thing to say, but it happens to be the truth." — Liberal industrial relations spokesperson John Howard discussing the likely impact of the Liberals' proposed youth wage of $3.00 per hour.

Refuge of the politician

"To me, pride in our country, pride in our flag, pride in our heritage, pride in what we have achieved as a nation in a short period of a couple of hundred years is fundamentally important." — John Hewson explaining some original ideas at the Liberal Party national convention in Sydney on July 5.

The winners

"We paid a lot for the cold war, so much we don't even know it yet. The Soviet Union broke up under the strain, and I think we did too. Hence our response to Yeltsin's plea for money — we don't have any." — US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Power

"I was very proud to serve my country, but not to be a sex slave of somebody who has a problem with power." — Jacqueline Ortiz, a US soldier reprimanded by the army after complaining about being raped by her sergeant while serving near the Iraqi border last year.

Ordinary

"I believe that in these matters the truth always does emerge ... But the mere fact that an allegation has been made is not in itself enough to justify an expression of concern being made ... I don't think we should regard these particular affidavits or statutory declarations that have been made as anything other than prima facie claims, which ... do need to be fully investigated in the ordinary way." — Foreign minister Gareth Evans explaining to the ABC's reported massacre of hundreds of Bougainvilleans by the Papua New Guinea army is an internal PNG matter, and not a matter that concerns the Australian government.