If you missed the second episode of Kerry O’Brien’s interviews with Paul Keating, it is still on ABC TV’s iview for a few more days, here. Well worth watching this insight into political power.
There’s a fascinating moment shortly after the start. The camera pans through the back room of Keating’s office, and shows him at work on a computer, reading a scanned newspaper. Kerry O’Brien says:
“Particularly revealing are his often candid notes handwritten in the margins at the time. He has a meticulous archive of more than 10,000 newspaper articles going back to the 1970s, collected personally week by week.”
The camera then focusses on a particular newspaper, The Australian Financial Review of Thursday 5 September 1985. It is stamped, ‘PJ Keating personal collection’. The headline on the lead story says, ‘Accord … but costly’, written by Gerard Noonan. The opening paragraph of the lead article is:
“Not without some significant short term pain, the Australian Council of Trade Unions has scored a major coup in gaining – almost overnight – superannuation coverage for all wage and salary earners.”
And in the top right corner of the page, written in Paul Keating’s elegant handwriting, it says:
“The beginning of national super”
So there’s as good a record as any, from the father of modern superannuation. The historic date is 4 September 1985, not seven years later when the national superannuation guarantee started.
(Paul Keating wrote three articles on superannuation for Cuffelinks, listed here).