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Quiz about Australias Colourful Prime Ministers
Quiz about Australias Colourful Prime Ministers

Australia's Colourful Prime Ministers Quiz

Apart from the task of leading the nation, most of Australia's Prime Ministers were rather colourful characters in their own right. Here are some facts on ten of them.

A multiple-choice quiz by Creedy. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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4 mins
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
Dec 03 21
# Qns
Avg Score
7 / 10
Top 35% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Guest 144 (1/10), turaguy (8/10), Guest 159 (7/10).
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Question 1 of 10
1. Australia's first Prime Minister, Edmund Barton, was way too fond of alcohol for his own good. This led to his being endowed with what nickname? Hint

Question 2 of 10
2. The fourth Prime Minister of Australia was George Houstoun Reid. A member of the NSW parliament since 1880, he earned himself the nickname of "Yes-No Reid". For what reason? Hint

Question 3 of 10
3. Perhaps you wouldn't want to rely on this Prime Minister to stick by his word on national issues. Australian Prime Minister on three separate occasions between 1908 and 1915, could we suggest this politician was fond of angling? Hint

Question 4 of 10
4. Joseph Cook, who was the sixth Prime Minister of Australia. What was he branded by the Labor Party of which he'd been a member? Hint

Question 5 of 10
5. Billy Hughes (the Little Digger), Australia's seventh Prime Minister, was known for what rather amusing termination fact? Hint

Question 6 of 10
6. Read between the lines for this one. Considered the most genial Australian Prime Minister of the 20th century, which PM was often portrayed in the press as a happy koala? Hint

Question 7 of 10
7. You'd think this would have closed the show on his political career, but it did not do so. What was the name of the fourteenth Prime Minister who spent a short time in jail before entering politics? Hint

Question 8 of 10
8. Australia's sixteenth Prime Minister, Ben Chifley, headed the country from 1945 until 1949 and was noted for his stamina. In what way was this? Hint

Question 9 of 10
9. Which Australian Prime Minister who didn't really enjoy that job, but who had been a World War II pilot who crashed several times, used his casting vote at a party leadership challenge, to vote himself out of office? Hint

Question 10 of 10
10. The 24th Australian Prime Minister, Paul Keating, had a tongue sharper than a razor. How, for example, did he loftily dismiss Asian countries? Hint

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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Australia's first Prime Minister, Edmund Barton, was way too fond of alcohol for his own good. This led to his being endowed with what nickname?

Answer: Toby Tosspot

Although Australia had been settled by Europeans since 1788, Edmund Barton was the first Prime Minister of the country, after the six separate British colonies existing here at this time united to form the Commonwealth of Australia on the 1st of January 1901. Barton (1849-1920) had been a member of the New South Wales colony since 1879, so was more than qualified on paper for the job of leading the new country. Or so it seemed. However, this sterling leader drank way too much for his own good, leading one of his peers to describe him as being in the "habit of taking so much to drink that he becomes slow of comprehension and expression" (pie-eyed in other words) and earning himself the unflattering nickname of Toby Tosspot as a result.

Barton was also an out and out racist who worked with a follow up PM on the Immigration Restriction Act of 1901, which resulted in the legalisation of the White Australia Policy aimed squarely at keeping would be Asian immigrants out of the country. Barton described them as "These races are, in comparison with the white races - I think no one wants convincing of this fact - unequal and inferior". He has also gone on record as stating that "I do not think that the doctrine of the equality of man was really ever intended to include racial equality". One can only imagine his opinion of the Australian aboriginal people who had existed here for some 40,000 years prior to the arrival of the Europeans.

Barton didn't really enjoy the job of leading the newly formed country though, and resigned as soon as he could, in 1903, to become one of the founding judges on Australia's newly established High Court. He died from a massive heart attack in 1920, while holidaying at the lovely and historic Hydro Majestic Hotel in Medlow Bath, New South Wales. Still, he was our newly formed country's first leader so we owe him some respect for that. So, ladies and gentlemen, raise your glasses and drink a hearty toast to Australia's first Prime Minister - the one and only Toby Tosspot.
2. The fourth Prime Minister of Australia was George Houstoun Reid. A member of the NSW parliament since 1880, he earned himself the nickname of "Yes-No Reid". For what reason?

Answer: His indecision about Federation

George Houstoun Reid (1845-1918) was not only the fourth Prime Minister of Australia (1904-05) after it became the one nation, he was also the Premier of New South Wales from 1894 until 1899. Known as a brilliant wit and speaker, Reid wasn't the most active of parliamentarians when he was first elected to same. In fact, he spent more time in building up his legal practice instead - and in eating. One contemporary account describes him as "immense, unwieldy, jelly-like stomach always threatening to break his waistband, his little legs apparently bowed beneath its weight, his thick neck rising behind his ears rounding to his many-folded chin". A leading journalist of the day added to this immensely unflattering description by saying of Reid that "He did not walk, he rolled". In spite of this, but perhaps because of his wit, charm and ability with words, women fell before old Jelly Tummy like ninepins. In short, he had a noted appetite for them as well as food.

Yes-No Reid earned himself that nickname because of his unwillingness to come down on one side or that other over the lead-up to Federation. Though he supported it to a degree, he was far from happy with the draft constitution, hence his hesitation. He therefore told his audience in his famous 1898 Sydney Town Hall speech about the issue (after talking about it for ninety minutes) that he would not "recommend any course to the electors" at all. A perfect politician in short. After Federation though, and when it came his turn to lead the country, he was an able leader as far as our Prime Ministers go, even though he didn't exactly get along with his own party members. His appearance belied his shrewdness. The highlight of his time in power was the passing of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1904 relating to the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes. This is looked upon today as one of Australia's most important pieces of legislation.

At the age of 46, Yes-No Reid finally married a woman 23 years younger than himself. He had three children. Later appointed Australia's first High Commissioner in London, this giant of a man in many ways died as a result of a stroke in 1918, while residing in that country.
3. Perhaps you wouldn't want to rely on this Prime Minister to stick by his word on national issues. Australian Prime Minister on three separate occasions between 1908 and 1915, could we suggest this politician was fond of angling?

Answer: Andrew Fisher

Andrew Fisher (1862-1928) was born in Crosshouse, Scotland, to a rather poor family, but one that believed in the worth of education and reading. By the age of ten, he was working twelve hours a day, six days a week in a coal mine to help augment the family income, but spending several hours each evening at night school as well - which entailed a four mile hike to get there. It's a wonder he survived childhood. It was only natural then, given the working conditions in the mines at that time in history, that the boy subsequently grew up to have a more than passing interest in the power of the unions. After he was elected to the Ayrshire Miner's Union when he was just seventeen, he instigated two strikes. He was promptly dismissed and permanently black-listed for his pains. So off he emigrated to Queensland, Australia, to start out afresh there.

Andrew's life from that time was a combination of union activities, hard work, and an ever increasing interest in the power of politics. By 1891, he was president of his local branch of the Australian Labour Party (not spelled "Labor" until after 1912). Two years later, he assumed the position of deputy leader of the State's Legislative Assembly where he immediately set out campaigning for a fifty per cent cut in military spending, supporting the Federation of Australia and opposing the forced importation of Pacific Islanders working in Queensland's sugar plantations. By the time Federation of Australia took place in 1901, Andrew Fisher had married his landlady's daughter, earned himself a reputation as a dangerous revolutionary, and was now a member of the national parliament of the newly formed one nation. 1908 saw him elected as Prime Minister of Australia.

Highlights of his Prime Ministership included the following:
- Introducing old age and disability pensions, a maternity allowance and worker's compensation
- A tax on unimproved land (to force the few greedy and very wealthy squatters on millions of hectares of the country's Crown lands, to hand portions over to battlers trying to establish small farms)
- Establishing the site for the national capital (Canberra)
- Instigating our own naval defence
- Setting up the beginning of our transcontinental railway system
- Replacement of the pound sterling with Australia's own currency
- Establishment of the Commonwealth Bank
- And his 1914 pledge to "stand by the Mother Country (England) to help and defend her to the last man and the last shilling" - and this is why you wouldn't perhaps rely too heavily on his word, for, just two years later in 1916, he was bitterly opposing conscription into the army during World War I, to stop every last man being forced to fight for the very same Mother Country. Ah, but you had to admire this fascinating and complex Prime Minister. Given his other achievements, he was one of Australia's finest.
4. Joseph Cook, who was the sixth Prime Minister of Australia. What was he branded by the Labor Party of which he'd been a member?

Answer: A class traitor

Joseph Cook (born Cooke) lived from 1860-1947. Born in England to working class parents, he too spent most of his early life working in coal mines from the age of nine, having had no formal education at all up until then. The passing of Britain's Elementary Education Act in 1870, however, saw the boy having to attend whether he wanted to or not, but once he started there, he not only relished learning, but he also realised its worth if one wished to progress in life. From that time, he determined to make a name for himself. Accordingly, with a young wife in tow, and having converted to Primitive Methodism, he migrated to Australia in the mid 1880s to start out afresh - and provide for his ever expanding family of five sons and three daughters.

In Australia, Cook initially worked in the coal mines again. This was a huge industry here at the time. He quickly moved up through the ranks there to become General Secretary of the Westerns Miners Association, then helped found the Australian Labor Party in 1891, before being elected to Labor's first seat in the New South Wales parliament. At that time New South Wales was still a separate colony. By 1894, however, he had become disenchanted with Labor when it tried to make all its member sign a pledge to be bound by the decisions of its caucus. He also preferred free trade, which was at odds with his party. This falling out, which led him to be branded a class traitor by Labor resulted in his joining the newly formed Free Trade Party. After Australia became the one federation in 1901, Cook was elected to the national parliament as the member for Parramatta. He also took over as head of the Free Trade Party in 1908, known by that time as the Anti-socialist Party. Subsequently, he then merged it with the Protectionist Party under the new name of the Commonwealth Liberal Party - and in complete opposition to his old Labor Party roots. In 1913, he became Australia's sixth Prime Minister when his party beat Labour by one seat in that year's election. World War One, a double dissolution of parliament, and another general election saw Cook and his Party ousted by Labour the following year.

After the Labor Party split over the issue of conscription in 1915, one more change of allegiance saw Cook and his members merge with Labor's pro-conscription supporters under the new name of the Nationalist Party, with Billy Hughes as Prime Minister and himself as Deputy Leader and the Minister for the Navy. Other highlights of his political life included representing Australia at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, supporting the White Australia Policy, the annexation of German New Guinea, and being appointed Australian High Commissioner in London after his retirement from the cut of thrust of Australia's national politics in 1921.
5. Billy Hughes (the Little Digger), Australia's seventh Prime Minister, was known for what rather amusing termination fact?

Answer: He was sacked from almost every party he joined or set up

Billy Hughes, or the Little Digger, as he was fondly referred to by many, lived from 1862 until 1952. Altogether he spent an amazing fifty-eight years in parliament - fifty-one in Australia's federal parliament and, prior to that, seven years in colonial parliament. Born in London, he emigrated to Australia at the age of twenty-two, where he initially worked as a labourer in the bush and as a cook, before moving to Sydney, and, just as quickly entering into a common law marriage with his landlady's daughter. Before entering parliament, Billy was a member of five different unions. After entering the noble halls of the country's parliament, he went on to join, establish, or help establish, nine different political parties, most of which were in opposition to the previous party of which he had been a member, and from most of which he was either sacked or asked to leave because of his abrasive, argumentative and very fiery nature. These included the Socialist League, the Single Tax League party, the Australian Labor Party, the National Labor Party, the Nationalist Party of Australia, the Australian Party, the United Australia Party, the Country Party, and the Liberal Party. Portfolios he also occupied over the years included the Minister for Health and Repatriation, the Minister for External Affairs, the Attorney-General, the Minister for Industry, Australia's United Nations representative, and the Minister for the Navy.

Before all that took place, however, Hughes fathered seven children, married again (this time legally), studied law, and became a fully fledged barrister in 1903. After being elected to federal parliament, Billy took over as Prime Minister of the nation for the first time in 1915 because of the illness of the sitting Prime Minister. He would go on to hold down that position twice more, as well as leader of varied parties for the following forty years, and a sitting member of parliament right up until his death in 1952.

Combative highlights of this fiery little fellow's time in office included the following:
- Thought to be a result of his chronic dyspepsia, he fought with everybody with whom he worked, whether they be opposition members or his own party associates
- Opposed all opposition proposals as a matter of course
- Sacked or presided over the resignation of hundreds of secretaries with whom he had fought
- Had an ongoing feud with a prominent fellow party member for years
- Supported Australia's involvement in World War One and then pushed for conscription to maintain our input. This bitterly antagonised two-thirds of his party, leading to a permanent split and the formation of more parties
- Earned himself a spot in Labor historical records as a Labor Party traitor
- Following one of his resignations, and because there were no other suitable candidates for the leadership, was immediately, and reluctantly, put back into power by the governor-general
- Attended the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, and fought with everyone there as well, particularly so with President Wilson who described Hughes as a "pestiferous varmint"
- Fought with Japan over the issue of Japanese racial equality proposal (which he opposed) and offended that country terribly
- Opposed the formation of the League of Nations on the grounds of their "flawed idealism of collective security"
- Resigned from his position of Australian representative in Geneva in 1935 over the uproar caused by his book "Australia and the War Today" that warned of the forthcoming Second World War and Australia's lack of defence preparation, but was vindicated when, just in time, the country tripled its defence budget

Remarkably politically astute, Billy Hughes was also a brilliant speaker known for his many witticisms, and his fierce devotion to this, his adopted country. In short, you just had to love this Little Digger. Australia certainly did. When this wiry, skinny little man, with a face that grew more wizened as the years flew by, passed away in 1952, more than 450,000 people lined the streets along which his funeral procession passed, to say a silent farewell.
6. Read between the lines for this one. Considered the most genial Australian Prime Minister of the 20th century, which PM was often portrayed in the press as a happy koala?

Answer: Joseph Lyons

Joseph Lyons was born in Tasmania in 1879. One of eight children, and following the unexpected death of his father, he had to leave school at the age of nine to work as a messenger boy and printer's devil to help support the family. With the help of two aunts, he later resumed his education and eventually graduated as a teacher himself. During his work in that field, he met and married his future wife, Enid, and together the couple produced eleven children. Along the way, and always a strong unionist and Labor supporter as a young man, Joseph had entered parliament as a member of that party, representing the seat of Wilmot, and eventually rose to the position of Premier of Tasmania in 1923. After being defeated during the 1928 state election, he entered federal politics and, just as quickly as his time in state politics, was promptly elected again to the seat of Wilmot in 1929, where he became the Minister of Works and Railways and Postmaster General in the James Scullin government.

When the Great Depression struck Australia during the 1930s, Joseph Lyons split with the federal government over disagreements on how it should be stimulating the economy, and he and several other ministers resigned to form, along with two other minor parties, the United Australia Party. He was immediately made its leader, effectively placing him in direct opposition to his previous alignment. In the 1931 election, the UAP won in a huge victory, and Joseph Lyons became Australia's tenth Prime Minister. During his time in office, he followed a conservative fiscal policy, supported the League of Nations, and, even though he was a dyed in the wool pacifist, increased the size of the army, opened an aircraft factory and started the ball rolling on munitions factories and shipyards.

Joseph Lyons was frequently portrayed in the media as a smiling koala and once, after winning a long battle with the High Court, but hearing that one of Australia's most famous racehorses had just died, he is said to have exclaimed "What's the use of winning a High Court decision - but losing Phar Lap!" Our genial koala, Joseph Lyons, went to that great eucalyptus tree in the sky on 7 April, 1939, when he died suddenly of a heart attack. He was the first Prime Minister to die while holding office.
7. You'd think this would have closed the show on his political career, but it did not do so. What was the name of the fourteenth Prime Minister who spent a short time in jail before entering politics?

Answer: John Curtin

Of Irish descent and with a father who was a policeman, it wasn't surprising that John Curtin would eventually enter politics as a Labor man. Many of the early Irish migrants to Australia supported this party because of the old historical animosity between that country and England. John Curtin was born in Victoria in 1885, left school at thirteen to begin work at a local newspaper and soon became more than interested in unions and the Labor party, writing many articles for the left wing and radical papers of the time. He was a fine sportsman as well, and his initial foray into the world of leadership came when he ran for President at his local football club, but was defeated. By the age of 26, he was secretary of the Timberworkers Union though, and stayed in that position from 1911-1915. It was at this time that he spent a short period in prison for his anti-conscription stance. Even though he had a lazy eye and knew he would be classed as medically unfit, he still refused to attend the compulsory medical examination that conscription required. During this period he also became a heavy drinker - an addiction that would plague him for years - and married the sister of a Labor senator.

He and his family moved to Perth in 1917 to take over the editorship of the official trade union newspaper there, and in 1920 he was elected president of the Australian Journalists Association. In addition to his strong political views, Curtin began more and more at this time of his life to also fight for the rights of woman and children. He was a Labor man through and through. This was followed by his third attempt to run for parliament, and in 1928 he was finally elected to the seat of Fremantle. He expected that this would see him awarded a position as a member of the front bench ministers for his steady persistence, but alas, his heavy drinking put paid to those ambitions for the time being, and he was relegated to the back bench instead. When the head of the Labor Party at that time resigned in 1935, Curtain ran for the position and squeaked in by just one vote over his main opponent, but there was a condition attached to his maintaining that position by the members of the party who had supported him. He had to swear to give up drinking - and this he did. The early years of the Second World War saw the leading Liberal Party in a state of confusion with leadership changing hands several times. This resulted in two independent members of parliament joining forces with Labor to bring down the government over the proposed budget. The Governor-General was forced to intervene. Because of his reluctance to call an election so close on the heels of a previous one, because of the continuing instability in the leadership of the country, and because of the unrest and distress caused by the Second World War, he made the decision that if the two Independents promised they would continue to back Curtin, he would put him in as Prime Minister.

And that is exactly what happened. It seems almost comical that a man who was completely against conscription in his younger days, who spent some time in jail for his stance on same, who had been such a heavy drinker for a good deal part of his life, who only managed to gain the leadership of the Labor Party by one vote in the first place, and now, only by the support of two independent politicians, should find himself as the PM of Australia - a position he was never actually elected to by the people of the country. Oh, but he more than rose to that challenge. John Curtin led the country through one of the worst times in her history, but the strain of the job killed him. Considered today to be among Australia's finest Prime Ministers, he died on the 5th July, 1945, at the age of sixty. General Douglas MacArthur said of him that "the preservation of Australia from invasion will be his immemorial monument". He wasn't just whistlin' Dixie.
8. Australia's sixteenth Prime Minister, Ben Chifley, headed the country from 1945 until 1949 and was noted for his stamina. In what way was this?

Answer: He had an affair with three women at once

Born in the lovely old-fashioned town of Bathurst in New South Wales in 1885, Ben Chifley was the son of a blacksmith. You can almost bet the family farm that anyone from that type of working class background would go on to become a Labor politician, and Chifley certainly did that, but first he had to grow up. His grandfather, who reared Ben for nine years, lost all his money in the bank crash in 1892, and after witnessing the distress that caused his family, this led Chifley to have a lifelong distrust of private banks. He attended local Catholic schools until the age of fifteen and then began work at the NSW Railways. There he eventually became an engine driver, helped found the Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Enginemen, and became a staunch member of the Labor Party. In 1914 he married Elizabeth McKenzie - a Presbyterian - in her local church, and, although he remained a Catholic himself, this led to some fairly strong criticism from his church at the time. That's what it was like back then. In 1917, as one of the leaders of a long strike, he lost his job, but the Labor Premier of NSW at that time intervened, and he was re-instated. This led Chifley to becoming even more interested in the unions and he would go on to teach himself industrial law as a result.

On his second attempt to be elected to parliament, he achieved that goal in 1928 in James Scullin's Labor government, became Minister for Defence in 1931, lost his seat in the next election, and clawed it back in 1940. The following year saw him appointed Treasurer in John Curtin's Labor Party government of the country. In 1945, on the death of Curtin, Ben Chifley became Prime Minister of Australia. He held that position until 1949, and just a FEW of the highlights of his time in office included the following:
- Attempting to steer the country gently towards what he called socialist democracy (oh dear, that was asking for trouble at that time in this country) with policies aimed at improving workplace conditions, jobs for everyone, and an "equalisation of wealth, income and opportunity"
- Fairer pensions, unemployment benefits, sickness benefits and funeral benefits.
- The construction of new universities and colleges and the construction of over 200,000 new houses
- Passing legislation to establish a universal public health stem, only to see this bitterly opposed by the Australian Medical Association. Let the poor die, by all means
- Creating the Commonwealth Employment Service and granting funds to the states for public housing construction for lower income earners
- Establishing the mighty Snowy Mountain Hydroelectricity Scheme to reduce the country's dependence on coal fire power
- Nationalising Qantas Aairlines and establishing Trans-Australian Airlines.
- Establishing the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO)

Ben Chifley was quite amazing in fact. All that in addition to having three extra-marital affairs all at the same time! Those skittish ladies were his secretary, her sister and another typist from his office. Its hard to know which is the more impressive of his lifes accomplishments. His astonishing political achievements - or his equally astonishing physical prowess. By 1951, Chifley was worn out however. A life long smoker, he had a heart attack on the 13th of June and died at 10:45pm that night. Today in Australia, many places and institutions have been named after this extraordinary Prime Minister. He was a man completely in touch with the people. So much so in fact, that, because his phone number and the local butchers number were almost identical, he happily took meat orders over the phone when people rang him in error, and cheerfully passed them on to their correct destination. Now what other Prime Minister would do that?
9. Which Australian Prime Minister who didn't really enjoy that job, but who had been a World War II pilot who crashed several times, used his casting vote at a party leadership challenge, to vote himself out of office?

Answer: John Gorton

You couldn't get a more fascinating and colourful character to head this country's parliament than John Gorton. This nineteenth Liberal Party Prime Minister was born in 1911 in Melbourne. He was the illegitimate son of the daughter of a railway worker, and an English orange grower who was separated from his legal wife. When Gorton's mother died from tuberculosis nine years later, that rather remarkable woman took him in and reared him with his half sister. He was educated at private schools until graduation (Errol Flynn was one of his school mates), and then went to England for further studies at the Oxford University where he studied history, politics and economics. During this period, he also married an American student, Bettina Brown, who was a language student at the Sorbonne. The young couple moved back to Australia after he graduated, where he took over his father's orchard business. Gorton also gained his pilot's licence while in England, and that licence and the soon to occur World War II were to have a major impact on his life.

When war broke out, Gorton enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force. Several years later, he was shot down by the Japanese during a dog fight over Singapore in 1942. Not properly strapped in, his face hit the gun sight when his plane crash landed on Bintan Island. His cheek bones were broken, his nose was a mess, and his arms were lacerated, but he wasn't captured, and was eventually rescued and taken to a hospital in Singapore. Unfortunately that was three days after the Japanese invasion of that country. Evacuated shortly after, and on his way to safety, the ship carrying him to Indonesia was torpedoed by the Japanese. He spent the next 24 hours on an overcrowded life raft in shark infected waters, with nothing to drink, before being rescued by the Australian navy. Later that year, and now in Darwin, he crashed once more and spent several days wandering around in the Australian bush until rescued. Oh my goodness, this man was destined for greater things, for, one year later, his plane crashed again during take off and the resulting injuries left his face badly scarred for life. From the front, it didn't look so bad, but his profile showed that he had hardly any nose left at all, except for its tip.

Five years later saw the fascinating John Gorton running for parliament, no doubt as adrenaline fuelled by that hunt as he was in the air force. He took his victorious seat in the Senate of the Federal parliament in 1950, and, over the years that followed, served as Minister for the Navy, Minister for Works, Minister for the Interior and Minister for Education. In 1967 the then Prime Minister, Harold Holt, disappeared while swimming off the coast near Portsea in Victoria, and the coalition's party leader stated that his party would refuse to co-operate with the government if Holt's Deputy (William McMahon) took over as Prime Minster. The ensuing havoc and uproar that followed saw a reluctant John Gorton elected Prime Minister on 9th January 1968 instead.

Initially very popular, Gorton proved a good leader of the country, but by then he was also a noted womaniser, a very heavy drinker who referred to his hangovers as "Gorton's flu", was prone to disappearing from official functions to go partying, and turning up for work in a rumpled suit, was a poor public speaker, and was frequently portrayed by the media as a somewhat incompetent good time Charlie. With the opposition Labor Party headed by the formidable Gough Whitlam becoming increasingly popular in the eyes of the people, this led to Gorton's own party members, particularly Malcolm Fraser, becoming more and more concerned about his fitness for the position of Prime Minister. In a leadership challenge that followed on 10th March, 1971, a seemingly unconcerned Gorton, who didn't want the job in the first place, cast his deciding vote against himself and resigned as PM. The challenge left a bitter taste in his mouth however, and he spent the next four years more or less causing trouble for his party until 1975, when Malcolm Fraser was elected Liberal Party leader, whereupon he resigned from parliament altogether. Many years later, the then Prime Minister, John Howard, attended John Gorton's 90th birthday party, and stated that Gorton was a person "was a person who above everything else was first, second and last an Australian". Empty words really, but indeed he was that. He was also a larrikin who must have driven his long-suffering wife insane - and a very unlucky World War II hero.
10. The 24th Australian Prime Minister, Paul Keating, had a tongue sharper than a razor. How, for example, did he loftily dismiss Asian countries?

Answer: Places you flew over to get to Europe

Born into a working class family in Sydney in 1944, Paul Keating attended Catholic schools until the age of fourteen, when he decided he didn't want to go any further with his education. He subsequently worked as a pay clerk at the Sydney Council, became a research assistant for a trade union, joined the Labor Party as soon as he could, became NSW Young Labor President shortly after, and managed a rock band in the interim. Gaining his party's endorsement for the seat of Blaxland he was elected to the House of Representatives in 1969, aged only twenty-five. He worked his way up through the ranks there, eventually being appointed opposition spokesman, then Federal Treasurer, and gaining a reputation for being outspoken and aggressive along the way. Keating, in fact, didn't care whom he insulted.

By the time he became Prime Minister Bob Hawke's Deputy in 1987, Keating was growing tired of waiting in the wings to get that top job, and, when Hawke didn't step down to allow him to take over, as he had indicated he would, Keating resigned, moved to the back bench. He challenged Hawke for the leadership in 1991, lost in the party room ballot, but waited until Labor began to receive negative media coverage for its lack of performance, then challenged again six months later. He became PM of Australia from that year until 1996, when he lost the election to the Coalition Party of the Liberals and Nationals.

Highlights of his time in office include the following:
- Managing to strengthen ties with Asia - in spite of insulting the Malaysian Prime Minister by referring to him as a recalcitrant
- Insulting Asia in general with the quote used in this question
- Moving towards indigenous reconciliation
- Referring to the Senate as "unrepresentative swill"
- Telling protesters during his last election campaign to "get a job"
- Destroying the Australian Film Industry
- Describing Sydney as an "urban junkyard"
- Establishing a review of the Sex Discrimination Act, even though he described homosexuality as "two poofs with moustaches and a spaniel do not make a family"
- Referring to the Liberals as a "motley, dishonest crew" and the Nationals as "dummies and dimwits"
- Likening the opposition Treasurer to "being flogged with a warm lettuce" and describing him as "all tip and no iceberg"
- Becoming known as Mr 17 for allowing home loan interest rates to climb to that percentage
- Asking journalists to only photograph him from the front so as not to reveal his bald patch
- Describing later Liberal Party PM John Howard as "antediluvian" and "a Copernican obscurantist"
- Describing opposition members as squealing like "stuck pigs"
- Disagreeing with High Court judges with almost every case

Yep, he was a real charmer alright. Since being voted out of office in 1996, and resigning from parliament altogether shortly afterwards, Paul Keating became the director of several companies, wrote a book that his wife bitterly complained about because it overlooked her contributions, divorced that wife, moved in with an actress, and has received several honorary awards from assorted universities. He was also a visiting Professor of Public Policy at the University of New South Wales.
Source: Author Creedy

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor stedman before going online.
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  1. Aboriginal Uses for Native Plants Easier
  2. Australia's Colourful Prime Ministers Average
  3. Aussie Sports Average
  4. Australia's Deadliest Creatures Easier
  5. Australian Words and Sayings Easier
  6. Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime Legends Average
  7. Australian Animals for Kids Very Easy
  8. Australian Geography Average
  9. Australian Inventions Average

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