Eleanor Hall interviews P. J. Keating on The World Today, erm, today, about the Brian Burke beat-up:
'PAUL KEATING: Oh, look, it's just Howard being Howard, isn't it, you know. The little desiccated coconut's under pressure and he's attacking anything he can get his hands on.
You know, I mean, look, Brian Burke and Julian Grill, they're the Arthur Daley and Terry of the Western Australian Labor Party, you know. They're like the wallpaper over there. You can't visit Perth without running into them ...
Look, look, Kevin has done something, he's met Brian Burke. But I'll tell you what he hasn't done - he hasn't lied to his nation about reasons for committing Australia to a non-UN sponsored invasion and war. He hasn't turned his head from the plight of a boat full of wretched individuals looking for shelter, and then adding insult to injury by saying they threw their kids overboard first, you know. And he hasn't prostituted the UN Oil-for-Food program by falsely declaring that Australia's wheat shipments were not ultra vires of the UN guidelines.
...I mean, look, you know, Howard has, you know, lied to the country about the reasons for going to war, going to war for God's sake, and now he wants us to believe it's a major problem if Kevin Rudd meets Brian Burke, you know, Brian who?
ELEANOR HALL: What did you think of Peter Costello's performance in the parliament, though, when he raised this?
PAUL KEATING: Well, the thing about poor old Costello, he's all tip and no iceberg ... he can throw a punch across the parliament, but the bloke he should be throwing the punch to is Howard. Of course, he doesn't have the ticker for it.
Now, he's now been treasurer for 11 years, the old coconut's still sitting there, Araldited to the seat ...
ELEANOR HALL: Has the Government, though, now taken the high moral ground with this by removing Minister Campbell?
PAUL KEATING: Look, for John Howard to get to any high moral ground he would have to first climb out of the volcanic hole he's dug for himself over the last decade. You know, it's like one of those deep diamond-mine holes in South Africa, you know, they're about a mile underground. He'd have to come a mile up to get to even equilibrium, let alone have any contest in morality with Kevin Rudd.
Now, my advice to Kevin is to move on, let Mr Howard, you know, he'd ... you can always tell when he's twitchy, the old shoulder starts going, and I notice on the TV lately the shoulder's going. He's in trouble.'
I miss him.