October 21

Queen tells Keating to wash up

'Now you've got to help me wash up'. So I helped her wash the plates, recalls former Prime Minister Paul Keating.

This is revealed in Mr Keating's new book, After Words, a  collection of speeches, reflections and articles, which is being serialised exclusively in the print edition of The Australian over the next several days.

In a report by Paul Kelly, Your Majesty, you're an anachronism: how Paul Keating gently dished up a harsh reality Paul Keating, reminisces about his meeting with the Queen almost 20 years ago when he informed her the monarchy was an anachronism and Australia would become a republic.

…long lecture…

The Queen apparently had to sit through a long historical lecture by Mr Keating. Readers of this column will know that Mr Keating has a curious view about some aspects of our history. He has for example insisted that the Australian constitution was drafted in the Foreign Office and imposed on Australia. The fact is it was drafted in Australia, by Australians and approved by the Australian people.

He also charged the British with abandoning us at Singapore. Worse, he did this to a close ally on the floor of Parliament. Any other power would have reacted severely at least recalling their diplomatic representative. Having lost their fleet and with Britain itself imperilled, the British continued to fight in India and Burma. So much so that the Allies made Lord Mountbatten Supreme Commander in South-East Asia Singapore.

And Mr. Keating talks about anachronisms.

…HM responds…

 After listening to this diatribe The Queen said simply : "You know my family have always tried to do their best by Australia."

Mr. Keating  replied: "Yes, I know that ma'am."Offered the choice of a formal dinner or barbecue, he chose the barbecue.

The Duke cooked. The Queen reset the table. After dining, The Queen washed up, instructing Paul Keating to help.



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