Sunday, July 22, 2007

Keating in Howard

Keating in Howard Hitler jibe

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July 12, 2007 12:14pm

PRIME Minister John Howard says he feels sorry for Paul Keating, after the former Labor PM compared Howard's political views to Adolf Hitler.

Mr Keating last night described Prime Minister John Howard as a divisive nationalist, likening his political philosophy to that of the German dictator.

"I'm a nationalist, I'm a patriot, I'm a believer and I feel sorry for Mr Keating, he ought to get on with life," Mr Howard said today.

In a speech at a Sydney Film School function, the former prime minister dispelled any Liberal hopes he might become their new secret weapon.

Mr Keating said Mr Howard, like Hitler, was a nationalist, not a patriot.

"Nationalism is . . . a dangerous and divisive tendency," Mr Keating said, adding that such political philosophy was "arguably more exclusionary than racism".

He said the Howard Government was no different to Australia's ultra-conservative Country Party that spawned it.

"Different families of leopards, but always with the same spots," he said.

The man who led Australia from 1991 to 1996 said nationalists had effectively hijacked Gallipoli, which had "fuelled the nationalist movement for the last nine decades".

Recalling Mr Howard's "We decide who comes here and the circumstances in which they come" election slogan, Mr Keating also blamed the Government's nationalism for the dire state of Australian arts.

"That's what's wrong with the arts - it's not money, it's the environment," he said.

The remarks will relax Labor officials who recently had to hose down Mr Keating's typically brutal assessment of his former party as "gutless".

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