From Stay in Touch (1983)

During the 1980s, David Dale’s ‘Stay in Touch’ column in The Sydney Morning Herald kept readers up to date with the latest in ‘Animal Acts’, ‘Great Moments in Bureaucracy’, ‘City Life’, ‘The March of Science’ and the latest in politics:

June 22, 1983

Bill Hayden wasn’t in Canberra yesterday, he was shuttling between Sydney and Adelaide, giving the same speech to the NSW ALP Conference and the South Australian ALP Conference. Basically the speech said people shouldn’t push too hard for immediate implementation of Labor policies by the Federal Government. But there was clearly another purpose…to settle a couple of old scores.

By way of background, we should explain that Mr Hayden believes that it was largely because of the activities of the senior officials of the party’s NSW branch that he was forced to stand down from the Labor leadership in favour of Bob Hawke. So in Sydney he began his speech by saying that when the NSW Party Secretary, Steve Loosley, had phoned last week to invite him to the conference, he had replied: ‘I dare say you are inviting me so you can display to your State conference my deep sense of gratitude to the officers for all they have done for me in recent times.’ The Left wing delegates laughed uproariously. Mr Loosley laughed politely.

 

Cartoon by 'Colquohoun' (Chris Henning) in 'The 2nd Best of Stay in Touch', 1984 (Horan, Wall and Waker)

Cartoon by ‘Colquhoun’ (Chris Henning) in ‘The 2nd Best of Stay in Touch’, 1984 (Horan, Wall and Waker)

Once in the safety of Adelaide, Mr Hayden went a lot further. He told the story about Steve Loosley, then went on to tell one about the former NSW Secretary, Graham Richardson. He said that after a TV show had reported on various machinations to remove him from the leadership, he had phoned Mr Richardson, who said: ‘Mate, mate, I know what you are ringing up about…that dreadful program on Sunday…I have nothing to do with it, we are behind you all the way.’ When Mr Hayden remarked that Mr Richardson had said this the previous month, Mr Richardson replied: ‘Oh mate, this time I’m telling you the truth. Last time I told you a lie.’ Mr Hayden observed that the word ‘mate’  is ‘an expression of deep loyal male friendship,’ but in NSW ‘it’s like the mafia presenting you with a bunch of flowers.’

–David Dale, Australian, 1948-

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