One of the advantages of being overseas right now is that it takes less effort to avoid listening to the insipid discourse that passes for political debate during this Australian election. As Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott compete over who can be more obnoxious to refugees, I find myself pining for the days of sensible and humane policies under Malcolm Fraser. As politicians make themselves the butt of their own unintentional suppository jokes, I pine for someone who could deliver a killer line against his opponent, rather than against himself: Paul Keating.
Whatever one might say about his policies, Keating’s political rhetoric was masterful. My favourite among his many put-downs of opponents was his reference to a pre-Rudd political comeback kid, the flamboyant Andrew Peacock. Peacock beat the dour Howard to become Opposition Leader after Hawke’s victory in 1983, then resigned in office in response to Howard’s white-anting of his leadership (plus la change?), and then came back again after Howard lost the next election. Commenting on Peacock’s chances of winning the election after that, Keating quipped that “a soufflé doesn’t rise twice.”
It’s not a Keating original , but it’s a goodie. And it segues to my topic, a soufflé that clearly is rising again right now: Australian house prices.