Cabinet papers released today by the National Archives show Working Nation began as a rational exercise but was soon overtaken by a desire to make the policy everything to everyone.
Paul Keating's government, faced with the prospect of international action on climate change, took steps to preserve the coal industry - a tactic that has been rebooted many times since.
After 1993, Paul Keating became ever-more dominant in cabinet policy discussions to ensure a legacy for the Labor government.
The arguments about a potential Australian republic in cabinet submissions suggest a failure of imagination and, more seriously, of trust.
It was Paul Keating himself who first raised the idea of a security agreement between Indonesia and Australia in June 1994 to Indonesian President Soeharto.