In their own words

Overcoming difficulties

“Privatisation, of course, has always been a difficult issue for the Labor Party.” — Anthony Albanese, Labor MP and federal infrastructure minister.


“The last thing you want to do is give a distressed borrower more time, because when people are in distress they tend to take a lot of risks. You don’t want zombie institutions floating around with time on their hands.” — Charles Calomiris, Columbia University economics professor, on insolvent US mortgage companies Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Now he tells us

“It’s an example of cronyism, special interest, lobbyists.” — US Republican presidential candidate John McCain, on what went wrong with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

More but less

“More regulation, more oversight, more transparency, more of everything, and frankly, a dramatic reduction in what they do.” — John McCain on what Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae need.

Wouldn’t bank on it

“Our banking system is a safe and a sound one.” — Henry Paulson, US treasury secretary, the day before the collapse of Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers, Wall Street’s third and fourth largest investment banks.

Centuries, maybe

“Over time, we’re going to get a lot of the money back.” — US President George Bush II, announcing a plan to give US$700 billion in public funds to private banks.

Hand on heart

“We have never taken money from ALP head office because you don’t necessarily know the provenance and we want to say, hand on heart, that we are incorruptible.” — Ingrid Strewe, the Labor mayor of Waverley in Sydney.

Of course not

“I stand for honesty and integrity. I don’t want to be able to offer Brendon [Grylls, WA National Party leader] or the community something I am not confident I can’t deliver.” — WA Liberal leader Colin Barnett on negotiations with the National Party following the state election, as quoted in The Australian.

Never give a terrorist an even chance

“The ISA is open to abuse. If we cannot be fair in implementing it, then we should confine its use to terrorists.” — Malaysian cabinet minister Zaid Ibrahim, on the government using the Internal Security Act to jail a critical blogger.