‘What you get for having a shot at Keating‘, Sydney Morning Herald, 1 November 2008
Text of the then former Prime Minister’s response to the remark of the then Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, that Keating was wrong to reject the popular view that Australia was redeemed at Gallipoli. ‘A political leader’s true task’, said Keating, ‘is to interpret events and reality to a conscientious nation. It is not to wallow in jingoism in the hope this might find some harmony with an old chord.’ Keating noted his efforts to enhance the profile of Kokoda in comparison with Gallipoli. Regarding Gallipoli, he said:
After federating in 1900, by 1914 the country was doing quite well in the first great flush of Australian social and economic nationalism. We had no need of sacrificing Australian men to prove we were legitimate, any more than we needed to earn our nationhood. But none of that went on to diminish the bravery of the Anzacs at Gallipoli, whose sacrifice did deepen our understanding and sense of ourselves, including subsequently, our national identity. The pity was our enhanced identity cost them so much.