Australian Left Review

Article Title

Briefings: A Bit of Sport


Alex Millmow


Parliament is always theatre but in recent times it has more closely resembled a bloodied boxing ring. In the red comer the champion Paul Keating defends his title against the challenger John Hewson from the blue comer. Every question time sees the j ab and uppercut of one against the counterpunch of the other. In the rounds of parliamentary battle words and barbs become punches; one week the champion has the challenger in trouble on the ropes, the next the scales have totally turned. Even when the two pugilists are seated as others take to the floor, little love is lost as they snarl at each other. Challenger Hewson is seen to lean over and hiss “you’re a loser, Paul”. Real enmity is there, the like of which we have rarely seen before.