Bert Kelly, The Australian Financial Review, December 23, 1977, p. 3.
After my defeat at the election, the next notable event was the declaration of the poll, at which I fondly hoped that large numbers of my previous supporters would give me a rousing and fond farewell.
So I prepared a powerful statement explaining why I was defeated and blaming it all on Eccles.
But only the winning candidate, the returning officer, and a few tired and indifferent onlookers who happened to be wandering by, made up the apathetic audience so it was rather an anti-climax.
I am beginning to realise that, in politics, one day you are a Black Orpington rooster and the next you are a feather duster.
The next sad thing I had to do was to clean out my office.
Over the years I have clung fiercely to anything I have ever said or done in the pathetic hope that eager historians who were clamouring to write my life story would have a large and deep well of wisdom and experience on which to draw.
But when I started to browse through my pearls of wisdom I was saddened to find that they were dull beyond belief.
I hoped that Mavis would like to keep my papers to pore over on winter evenings, but she made it clear that she would be far too busy watching TV, making up for the wasted years when she had been forced to listen to Parliament.
She was adamant that she didn’t want any of my old rubbish for the mice to nest in.
And she had the same unkind comments to make about the bound Hansard volumes, all proudly embossed with my name.
“We just haven’t got room for them, dear,” she said plaintively.
“I know that they would look imposing and would make Mrs Jones jealous, but no one would ever look at them from inside. Offer them to Fred; he might want them for some queer reason.”
But Fred said that the only use he could find for the volumes was to build them into an outhouse.
“And they would feel very much at home there,” he said sourly.
So it was all very sad because I just couldn’t bring myself to burn them or throw them out in the street.
Then one of my colleagues who had retired before me, told me to ring the Commonwealth archives which might be interested.
I did this rather diffidently and I was surprised to find that they seemed quite excited and they immediately sent a big truck around and a couple of strong men to cart all my papers away.
This pleased me immensely that my true value to posterity had at least been recognised.
But one of the workmen spoilt my pleasure by explaining that the archives seemed to be interested in almost anything, however trivial.
“Even this stuff,” he said in a puzzled tone.
When I told Fred about this later, he said that they must have a winnowing machine which they used to find the few grains of wisdom in all that chaff.
The archives cherish the queerest things. They catalogue the more important documents so that they can be quickly retrieved if they are wanted by me while I am alive or by my family when I am dead.
But they want them so that historians in 50 years time can find out what problems occupied the time of members of Parliament in the 1970s.
And when they found I had been keeping a diary since I had been in Parliament, they became very interested and asked to see some of it.
I felt ashamed because it is really a mass of trivia, though I admit that there are some interesting passages, such as why I voted as I did at leadership contests and there are some rather frank comments about people.
I find it dull beyond belief, but not so the archives people, who said that they couldn’t wait for me to die.
When I told Mavis about this she suggested that I should have demanded a State funeral as a reward.
It’s funny how she always comes back to the State funeral. If I could get one, her cup of happiness would really run over.
There will be many other retired members who will be wondering what to do with their documents.
I can commend the archives as a willing and competent organisation.
I have been spoilt for so long by having a competent secretary who keeps everything in immaculate order, and I know that, without her, everything would get into the most awful mess.
So I was glad to hand the whole lot over. The archives will have the worry of sorting it out and caring for it.
I strongly urge all members to keep a diary. It is so easy to pick your portable dictaphone up and tell it what happened in that day’s party meeting and so on.
It will seem pretty dull to you both now and later, but it will breathe life into the history of what will be written in 50 years’ time. And it will give you a delayed opportunity to get even with a few sods!
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hang on to his ear
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- Cartoons of protected industry, the welfare teat and the nanny state
- Bert Kelly on the theory of constant shares and the Fabian Society
- Bert Kelly vs Doug Anthony
- You're lucky if you escape being helped by government
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- Bert Kelly on Apathy
- Bert Kelly in 1967 on "problems of government and things like that"
- The last "Dave's Diary"
- Bert Kelly vs The Australian on tariffs in 1977
- Bounties or Tariffs, Someone Pays
- Geriatric companies without a minder
- A free marketeer wary of free trade
- Nixon's puzzling profession of faith
- "Ford ... seems to spend more time bending its knees than its back"
- Clyde Cameron's weak ways with wise words
- Why flaunt what others flout?
- Bert Kelly yearns for Tim Flannery's powers of prediction
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- Bert Kelly masterpiece on drought, fire, flood and other natural disaster relief schemes
- Government can take credit for our car industry mess
- Car makers want the 4wd driven deeper into tariff bog
- Why our MP is no longer prone to a good sob story
- Auto industry is in a straitjacket
- Bert Kelly on market predictions
- Why should dryland farmers subsidise irrigation farmers?
- How much should government decrease incentive for independence from government?
- Clarkson crowned Deputy Government Whip
- Bert Kelly to blame for soaring government healthcare costs
- 1959 return of Dave's Diary
- Bert Kelly in 1966 on developing northern Australia
- Successful government intervention can [sic] occur
- Vernon Report upholds Clarkson
- Quiet Man Makes An Impact
- Should it be compulsory to buy footwear and clothing?
- To save Australian clothing industry women must all wear same uniform
- Don't confuse plucking heart strings with plucking harp strings
- Speech only for public
- Catchy Tariff Circus Extravaganza
- Bert Kelly in 1985 on cars yet again
- Hurrah for the Gang of Five
- Thoughts on a verse about Balfour
- Bert Kelly pep talk to politicians
- Government intervention = Agony postponed but death brought nearer
- Recipe for disaster: Freeze!
- Recipe for government intervention: Gather winners and scatter losers
- Recipe for industry destruction: Blanket market signals
- Mavis writes!
- Bert Kelly's empiricism is not kneejerk reaction kind
- The $2,000 song of the shirt worker
- Subsiding only small farmers means subsiding the big banks
- Difficult to be fast on your feet when you've got your ear to the ground
- It would surprise people to see how sensible MPs behave if they think they are not being watched
- Bert Kelly on "this land of limitless resources" and "great open spaces"
- Growing bananas at the South Pole
- Car components tariff protection under fire
- Why carry a $300m car subsidy?
- Tariff feather beds for the foreign giants
- Bert Kelly says end compulsory voting to stop donkey vote
- Perhaps being smart and insured isn't all luck
- You gets your tariff, you pays a price
- More funds to train Olympians?
- Fire in their guts and wind in ours
- Should free universal healthcare include pets?
- Sound advice from a modest farmer
- A tottering monument to intervention
- Cunning meets wisdom
- Competition, Aussie-style: Who's the bigger parasite?
- Australians are proud patriotic parasites, says Bert Kelly
- Taxpayer-funded sport is cheating
- Being loved by all is not always a good thing
- Welfare State Destroys Society
- 1980 Bert Kelly feather bed series
- The White Mice Marketing Board
- Government intervention and advice can be harmful, even when right, even for those it tries to help
- One small step on the compulsory voting landmine
- The free & compulsory education sacred cows have no clothes
- Holding a loaded wallet to an economist's head
- Political No Man's Land
- Only blind greed demands both equality and prosperity
- A cow that sucks itself — that's us!