View Full Version : Mark Latham

19th Sep 2005, 14:07
I was going to apologise for putting such an Aussiecentric post in JB, because our Dunnunda forums have to stick to aviation.

Then I thought, fcuk it, if the rest of the world doesn't know who he is/was, there's enough Aussies on here to comment.

I missed the Andrew Denton interview with Latham last week, and just saw it for the first time tonight. It was extraordinary stuff.

Does anybody want to comment to get the ball rolling?

19th Sep 2005, 14:12
I used to work with a guy named Mark Latham. I think. Or maybe we went to the same school for awhile. I don't remember exactly.

19th Sep 2005, 14:15
Typical Labor politician.

19th Sep 2005, 15:15
I wasn't expecting to be dazzled by the intelligence of the political commentary, but I was hoping that, well, you know.... :rolleyes:

19th Sep 2005, 18:00
From what I've read, Mark Latham is a whiney, self-centered, egotistical sore loser.....loser.....loser:yuk:

Capt Claret
19th Sep 2005, 18:43
I think he will live to regret his writing of and releasing this particular book. I didn't watch all of it but from what I did see, I can understand some of his angst but also suspect that Jeff Kennet's suggestion that there might be some depression driving things, could be a tad correct.

19th Sep 2005, 20:32
When visiting Australia last year I used to watch the Oz parliament on TV , sometimes (not that I'm sick or anything but I was fascinated by the way proceeding couldn't go for more than a few minutes before someone had to have a bollocking for saying something out of line). I noticed that Latham always swivelled his chair around so his back was towards the speaker when little Johnnies side was talking, he always seemed to be out of his depth and not really taking any interest in what was going on. As an impartial observer who probably saw him on TV no more than a dozen times I am not the least bit surprised in the way he has performed, if he had been a Brit he would have made a good docker's (long shoreman) shop steward in the days before Maggie got at them..

The Voice
19th Sep 2005, 21:57
Unfortunately, I didn't realise he was going to be on Denton's show otherwise I would have watched the interview ..

as for the last few days, I am wondering who is his marketing agent, and whether this whole outpouring of animosty is being directed, or whether he's just being his naturally gifted self.

Either way, a 2nd reprint after 2 days of sales is pretty darn good, and it is remarkable how the book was written pretty quickly as well!

Amazing how one bloke could be so overlooked, misunderstood, misguided, mistreated and under-rated by his parliamentary co-horts.

This Latham bloke makes any real true blue aussie bloke look tame!

Buster Hyman
19th Sep 2005, 22:00
There's a Roo loose in the top paddock I'd say.

I always thought Gough Whitlam was the closest we got to a Dictator, Gawd only knows what would've happened if that Latham got some power!:uhoh:

tony draper
19th Sep 2005, 22:27
Hmmm, one wonders if Mrs Queen can still sack Ozzy Prime Ministers?

19th Sep 2005, 23:33

Buster Hyman
20th Sep 2005, 00:04
Reminds me of Mr. Tinkles.

Don Esson
20th Sep 2005, 00:21
I see a great similarity between Mark Latham's musings and those expressed in many of the posts around here.

Question is: Is Mark Latham a PPRUNE afficienado????

:= :=

20th Sep 2005, 00:23

Maybe Paul Kelly will find time to do an article on Mark Latham. Some similarities with previous ALP leaders are glaringly obvious.

One would hope he would be more accurate with his facts if this does indeed happen.


20th Sep 2005, 01:20
Am listening to the boxhead on the radio at the moment, is claiming to be the star of the The Truman Show and is now releasing his memoirs of his time in the glass house.

Out of his depth and a rebel without a clue. Howard being very clever, avoiding bagging him back, just rubbishing ALP for picking a boxhead, recognising that if it has any effect Latham's spray damages the standing of ALL pollies.

20th Sep 2005, 01:29
A sore loser, brimming over with vitriol and bile, poor judgement...yes, all of those things apply. However.......having been in the game as a bit player a lot of what he is saying has the ring of truth. It will certainly not do the Labor party any good at all and is probably the ultimate kiss of death for Beazley and also for Rudd's immediate aspirations. I think that a lot of people are breathing a huge sigh of relief that the ALP was not elected in the last round. It's going to be a bit of problem now that the Liberals are starting to get a bit weary - where is the credible replacement government? And where is a credible opposition for the moment?

There is also a good series of interviews of Latham by Tony Jones on Lateline. Bit more depth than the Labor luvvie Denton. As an aside - a fascinating stoush within the ABC as to who was going to screen an interview first. Good expose on MediaWatch.

20th Sep 2005, 02:48
I think Latham may be mentally ill, and I think he'll regret all this at some time in the future when he is more rational.

Thank the gods he never became Prime Minister.

20th Sep 2005, 03:18
The Andrew Denton link here (http://www.abc.net.au/tv/enoughrope/transcripts/s1463685.htm)

I thought Andrew was going to hit Latham with his handbag :bored:

Poor old Kim ..but a long time to the next election.

20th Sep 2005, 06:03
I wonder who has actually bought Mark Latham's book? Most people I have spoken to have said they would not read it on principle.

Has anyone bought the book? (I'm wondering about demographics etc). And, what do you think of the book so far, if you have bought it.

20th Sep 2005, 08:43
Andrew Denton committed one of the cardinal sins of interviewing - he let his feelings out.

"You have absolutely disembowelled the Labor party in this book."

When he said that, and those who have seen the interview will know the tone and inflections behind the statement, then he hoisted his own colours to the mast.

Buying the book? Yes, I will buy a copy but will probably wait for the paperback version (make a good read for the trip to the UK just before Christmas).

Buster Hyman
20th Sep 2005, 09:21
Those colours have been flying for years allan. Still, I'd rate him the best interviewer on the idiot box in Oz!

20th Sep 2005, 10:24
He will be laughing all the way to the bank! his book will be a best seller! there is no such thing as bad publicity! and what better publicity than to air out the oppositions dirty laundry......

my partner is a member of parliment, Labour NSW, and its no different there than federal. just no one talks about it. like mark does..

even i have a shit sheet against me! dirt they can use against my partner should the need arise.

20th Sep 2005, 10:39
In short … my two cents.

It had to happen sooner or later, if it weren’t Latham then some other ‘hard done by’ would have filled the gap. The Labour party has problems and almost seems to enjoy (as a whole) being in opposition.
The parliament in general has behavioral issues and what we see on the surface is just the tip. My sixteen year old son saw our Parliment in action on TV during question time the other day and his only comment was ‘they act like kids, dad!” …. Latham’s dummy spit just reinforces that observation for me and the media feeds off it like pigs at the trough.

20th Sep 2005, 12:10
Maybe Paul Kelly will find time to do an article on Mark Latham.

Yes, Prospector, it's quite possible not only that he will, but that it will be plastered all over the main pages of the national daily over the course of a week. A search might even lead you to them, but I'll save you the trouble.





Now come back and tell me that Paul Kelly is a lefty commentator.

20th Sep 2005, 14:41
That shut him up. I just read those links myself. Thanks.

20th Sep 2005, 14:53
Kelly's take is informative and well-written. I sense, though, creepthrough of a reasoned desire to mitigate the damage to ALP.

My question remains, if ALP expects to ever be trusted to run the government again, how will it ensure it screens out candidates with the shallow and angry nature of Latham before they get to the level he achieved?

20th Sep 2005, 15:03
Hmm, as you would probably expect from my raising of the topic in the firstplace, BT, I have a slightly alternate viewpoint to be thrown into the ring. Tuesday night is probably not the best time to discuss it. I look forward to putting my point of view tomorrow. :8

The Voice
20th Sep 2005, 20:18
I can't get over the venom that comes through from Lathams outpourings .. even in the written word!

20th Sep 2005, 22:37

Paul Kelly article The Australian 07sep05, it commenced with the following, not stated as reported by, but as a fact.

"The flooding of New Orleans has claimed more American lives than the Sept 11 attack and this time there was no evil enemy, no act of war and no violence that defied precise prediction"

This statement has proven to be false, where would Mr Kelly have got such information from?, why would he have used false information to commence the article the way he did if not to influence people to his view of American Politics?.

The following from an article by Pat Buchanan, it is factual, but coming from a direction that Kelly never touched on.

" The real disaster of Katrina was that society broke down. An entire community could not cope. Liberalism, the idea that good intentions and government programs can build a Great Society, was exposed as fraud. After trillions of tax dollars for welfare, food stamps, public housing, job training and education have poured out since 1965, povery remains pandemic. But today, when the police vanish, the community disappears and men take to the streets to prey on women and the weak.

Stranded for days in pools of fetid water, almost everyone waited for the Government to come save them. They screamed into the cameras for help, and the reporters screamed into the cameras for help, and the "civil rights leaders" screamed into the camers that Bush was responsible and Bush was a racist.

Americans were once famous for taking the initiave, for having young leaders rise up to take command in a crisis. See any of that at the superdrome?"

Getting off thread perhaps, but to my way of thinking it does indicate that Paul Kelly comes from left of centre, his article on Latham is written very much in damage control mode. And from where he would appear to view the world that is to be expected. Not necessarily wrong, but to be expected.


21st Sep 2005, 00:15
What I find scary is Labour voting this screwball in as a leader.
What sort of message is this going to convey to the punters?
You reckon the treasurer is going to leave this alone come election time?

Off topic but across the tasman they voted some time ago to adopt the German voting system.
Both countries now find themselves up shit creek with no government for now.
Shroeder is a better looking man than Clark tho.

21st Sep 2005, 00:21
Not as loud as Clark tho.

21st Sep 2005, 00:24
Has Mark Latham never heard the phrase

"What goes on tour stays on tour".

You don't blab to outsiders what happens in confidence amongst your peers. What a total prat and sore loser.

Now if the Liberals did the same thing, imagine what a good read that would be. Even better if Joh had launched a no holds bar book after he was ousted as Premier of Qld.

21st Sep 2005, 02:27
I think Latham has pontential as an Aussie PJ O'Rourke.
Maybe he could title his next effort

"Parliament of whores sewer rats scumbags and arseholes"

21st Sep 2005, 04:40
OK, in the cold sober light of a Wednesday I’ll try to encapsulate my thoughts on this fascinating political story and its implications.

Firstly, all the complaints about Latham’s actions have some legitimacy. He does come across as a sore loser, he does bite the hand that fed him, he does smash all the conventions about keeping things in house, and, in my opinion most damning of all, he prefers to blame everything on somebody else rather than accept some personal responsibility. I’ll stay away from the personal allegations, because they are a “he says, she says” situation, but regardless, he’s got a fair bit to overcome if what he has said is to be given any legitimacy.

But there are some uncomfortable truths to be faced in what he says. Those who are expressing huge relief that he never became PM have some ammunition for their case, but those anxieties are based on politics as it is and always has been. What Latham tried to do, and had done since entering parliament, was to try to look outside the square, and it’s only by looking outside the comfortable set of parameters we are used to that we can gain a balanced look at the man.

Firebrands come and go in politics, but they never last long. Why? A lot of them express the fears and frustrations of ordinary people, which is why they are elected initially; Pauline Hanson being the most recent phenomenon. So why do they burn out and die so quickly? They are beaten by the system: they are defeated by politics itself. The powerful insiders’ club that is party politics will not stand for any prolonged upheaval. It is a club which, as Latham suggested, tends to regard power as an end in itself rather than the means to improve things. It is most certainly a club run by number crunchers and hard pragmatists.

If I were to suggest that should change, I would be rubbished as an idealist. I would expect that from those entrenched in the system, but what always surprises me is how well they have managed to persuade ordinary voters to think the same way, so now we have every man and his dog, many of them the same ordinary Joes who voted for Pauline Hanson, letting Latham have both barrels on talkback radio and internet forums. These people have subconsciously accepted the status quo over the years, aided and abetted by the press gallery, who know a good thing when they’re on to it. (Wasn’t Latham spot on in his remarks about them?) It’s as though the end of civilisation as we know it is at hand if we unbalance the status quo.

What this means in this particular case is that the real truths behind Latham’s blast are being beautifully suppressed, the preferred result of politicians of all hues, and ironically it’s being done by us, the people who should be nodding our heads in agreement. Instead we are tut-tutting and thanking our lucky stars that this madman didn’t become our PM. The politicians are sitting back smiling that we are doing the job they thought they would have to do, namely cleaning up the mess.

Latham legislated to reduce the pollies self-voted superannuation rorts, which was of course a popular move. Now he is sitting home loudly proclaiming the benefits of being a stay at home dad and encouraging others to do it. As Denton pointed out, there’s an awful lot of people who would cheerfully do that if somebody would give them an $80,000 pension indexed for life. The bravest and most honest political act Latham could have made would be to refuse that pension as excessive and take a much lower one. That one act would have made him a folk hero, and there would be far more attention paid to the home truths in his message and far less outrage at his rocking of the boat. Who mentioned the idealist? :rolleyes:

To me the real idealists are those who keep on voting people into parliament honestly believing those people can make a difference when in fact, like Peter Garrett, they get swallowed up by the machine, transformed into another suited clone toeing the party line and dreaming of working their way up the ladder.

Latham as PM may well have turned out to be a disaster; we'll never know for sure. I've just got this nagging feeling that loose cannon though he might have been, he was also a rare chance to change the way things are done to at least some degree.

That chance has now gone, and most people appear to be relieved. I just question whether they really should be.

21st Sep 2005, 05:14

Very Good. A most impressive encapsulation.

For myself it is not so much that he convinced the "ordinary Joes" for so long, most don't have the time or the inclination to study these things to closely, to busy trying to make a dollar. It is of course a different story when one goes back in time and recall the praises sung of the man by so many senior figures in the ALP. How they could be so wrong in this persons persona for so long must raise serious doubts in many quarters.

It is suprising for me to read in the Paul Kelly article of 21 Sep 05 the following.

"The book confirms that George W Bush was correct in seeing Latham as a threat to the alliance, and that the media outcries in this country on Lathams behalf and against Bush were misconceived"

It is a change to see George W. Bush in for a bit of praise, especially from Mr. Kelly.


Buster Hyman
21st Sep 2005, 10:32
Interesting perspective Bino's.

Seeing that you're going to spoil a perfectly good "mob rule" mentality, I'll add my 2 cents worth too.

Another point about them that I'd add to yours is that they have a limited lifespan due to the fact that they have a limited platform/agenda. It might be fine to agree with Pauline on Aboriginal affairs (example only!), but I'd be concerned if she was running the budget...let alone a Fish & Chip shop! The Greens have an environmental platform as their driving force, what's their policy on wage indexation?? Small focussed parties will always suffer this problem. They may have a policy across the board, but this gets lost in the midst of their main agenda. The Democrats tried to be a mainstream policy, but I think their attitude towards children of single parentage might have confused the electorate.

a rare chance to change the way things are done to at least some degree
This is where I'd be concerned and, I imagine, the silent majority that elected not to vote for him. Change is good, no doubt about it. The current duopoly could do with a shake but, it's what we didn't know that probably scared a few off. What I mean is, if you elect a loose cannon, there are few opportunities to "un-elect" him/her. 1975 proved that there is still a way to do this, but I doubt if there would be many people who would like to see it happen again. So, what was he going to do, what would we end up with once elected.

Australians are too "conservative" to follow in blind faith, especially when the political system is concerned. This is why so many referendums have been knocked back. How they were knocked back is another argument & not for this topic but, I'll hasten to add that I feel that the electorate may have had a "gut" feeling about him. Add to the mix a global uncertainty and you've got quite a substantial reason to leave him in opposition.

21st Sep 2005, 10:58
I find it hard to quibble with anything you've said, Buster. I know I wouldn't have voted for him if for no other reason than the disaster that Medicare Gold would have been. And your point about the innate conservatism of the electorate is indisputable.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not sorry he's not PM either. It just seems a bit sad that the valuable things he's saying are being drowned out by the hysterical noise over his attacks.

Interestingly enough, my perspective has been challenged again this afternoon by a piece on www.crikey.com.au. An excerpt:

"When Latham's much-fussed-over Enough Rope interview was brought up, the former Opposition leader didn't exactly pour praise on Andrew Denton. "I know you're mates of Andrew Denton and all that, but he's not much of a political interviewer. I had to do the Tony Jones one [on ABC TV's Lateline] to get a political professional as opposed to an amateur". He added that Denton didn't "cut the mustard".

We put Latham's latest claims to Denton who had this to say:

Mark is clearly attempting to attack all of Australia in alphabetical order and he must have missed me the first time he went through the D's. People can judge the interview for themselves, just as they will Tony's. I thought both were compelling in different ways, something the ABC should be proud of. It's just another Mark Latham contradiction, however, that he bewails the ‘insider' culture of Australian political reporting, but the only journalist he seems comfortable talking to is a man who told a Sydney radio station last week that he'd spent the last month visiting Mark's house, helping him pick up the kids and “watching him cook chicken cacciatore." Sorry Mark, this is yet another instance where you can't have it both ways.

I confess I'm considerably less sympathetic to Latham after reading that. It proves among other things that his main justification for all the attacks he made on people, namely that he was being forthright and frank, was a lie. His friendly demeanour during the interview obviously masked a seething rage underneath; so much for frankness and honesty.

Oddly, though the interview was described in the piece as being "uneasy" and "unsuccessful" I didn't get that impression at all, and neither did anyone else I've spoken to about it. Perhaps Crikey is being wise after the event. It certainly couldn't have been described as a grilling, that is not Denton's style, yet Latham now appears to be furious about it. I wonder if it was just Denton's gentle accusation of hypocrisy over the parliamentary pension that has stirred his anger?

Political instincts die hard apparently, including two-facedness (if that's not a word it should be).

Whichever way you look at it though, he's an enigma, and has at least briefly breathed some life into a somnolent political scene. I expect the shelf life of the whole matter to be two weeks tops.

Buster Hyman
21st Sep 2005, 11:15
Yes, I imagine only those close to the big two parties would have a real interest in it...the Libs for the "tee-hee" factor and the Labour people for the "Ooooh, I knew it!" factor.

I think he will make an interesting charachter study for students in the future, but I'm not sure if it'll be Political or Psychiatry students!!

22nd Sep 2005, 02:38
A few more words on Latham...

Having described the generous Aust parliamentary superannuation scheme as an outrageous rort, and having forced a watering-down of the scheme for future MP's, Mark Latham has quietly picked up his 'old system' indexed entitlement of about $80,000 per year. No suggestion of giving any of this to bookreading for the kiddies, or any of his other favoured causes. Just straight into the pocket.

From the Melbourne Age, Feb 4th, 2004:

Mr Latham said he felt uncomfortable fronting a community forum knowing his super was so much higher than those he was addressing.

"I can't defend the current scheme," he told reporters.

"It's way out of line with a decent community standard and it's also out of date in that this was the scheme devised at a time when it was said, when a politician left parliament they'd struggle to get a decent job in the future."

Politicians now often secured very high-paying jobs in the private sector once leaving politics, Mr Latham said.

"I think politicians need to recognise that a lot of the public distrust and cynicism about modern politics is about double standards," he said.

"And when people see a parliamentary super scheme that's way out of line, far more generous than the community standard, well it's hardly surprising the public makes a grievance about it."

End of quote.

As the great Bob Hawke himself is supposed to have said: 'I'm a man of principle. And if you don't like my principles, well, I've got others.'

I for one won't be contributing to Latham's comfort in retirement by buying his book.

22nd Sep 2005, 03:25
Read this interview


22nd Sep 2005, 04:12
Interesting. He's a pleasant type, isn't he? As I said before, thank God he didn't make it to Prime Minister. I hope we've seen the last of him.

22nd Sep 2005, 07:17
Well, well! Perhaps on reflection the "hypocrisy" of maintaining a semblance of politeness while despising somebody (the honourable minister is a raving lunatic) is in fact what we call civility.

That really was a most unpleasant interview that showed Latham's true colours, and they're not pretty. The last interview I heard as bad as that was the late Russ Hinze in the glory days of Bjelke-Petersen threatening a junior reporter, "You can't talk to me like that; I'll have your job young lady; who do you think you are?"

I previously suggested the media's focus on the sensational bits was overshadowing the underlying message, but Latham is now doing that himself and if I'm any judge, firmly lodging his place in history into one he won't be proud of in ten years.

I agree entirely with RJM. In plain aussie lingo, he can dish it out but he can't take it. Goodbye Mark, and good riddance.

22nd Sep 2005, 13:58
This has turned into an excellent thread thanks to profound posts by Binos, Prospector, Buster, RJM.

To me this story is a metaphor for the entire world's search for leaders and how character does indeed count. We who live under the privilege of democracy are responsible to wisely and seriously choose our leaders, and it's not simple or easy.

What makes the best airline captain? Is it the one who knows the manuals chapter and verse; the one who can smoothly put the airplane on centerline in a gale at minimums; the one who everyone wants to fly with; the one who knows the systems cold and never varies from procedure?

NO. It's the one who is not lacking in any of these tools. He doesn't have to be the best at anything. More importantly, he's the one who never loses his head, and when confronted with a crisis where the solution is not in the manual, can creatively come up with a sound course of action, make a decision and execute it, ever open to new information, and not given to falsely perceiving a condition and pursuing the wrong solution.

So it is with the highest political leadership. When they demonstrate a failure, it defines them. No matter what else they have done that might be positive, they live with the recorded flaw they have shown. Latham has shown the fatal flaws of arrogance, hypocrisy, vengeance, and avarice. He is there fore relegated to the personna of a miscreant, and rightfully so.

But cheer up, Binos. Latham's good ideas are bigger than he is if people continue to support them. Your job is to promote and aid those who reflect what you want to see, or jump in yourself and make your voice heard, as you do on this forum.

22nd Sep 2005, 14:28
I've always thought Latham was a loaded gun and not suitable for PM.

But for some reason I still like him.

Maybe cos he called the Howard and cronies a pack of arse lickers :}

22nd Sep 2005, 15:03
Gatfield, I know what you mean. WE need something, someone, to put a bomb under the backsides of these smug inhabitants of an unreal world. Surely number two spot on the Senate ticket for either major party in any state is the ultimate job? Who could name any of them?

Politicians in general remind me a bit of the inhabitants of a company mining town. 25 years ago I lived in Weipa for two years, one of the few non-Comalco employees in town. Conditions were phenomenal, yet the place was full of whiners who would go on strike at the drop of a hat. What always struck me as ironic was that a good percentage of them would have been unemployable anywhere else at the time; they had just come to accept their cosseted and comfortable world as reality, and adjusted their self-worth upwards. They were earning twice the average wage, ergo, they deserved it for their skills. Eventually they came to believe this.

BenThere, as a politician I would make Latham look considered. I simply don't have the patience for all the bullshit. Decisions I make at work are made quickly, and I live or die (metaphorically speaking) by them. I've no patience with any decision that takes a committee three weeks to decide whether it needs to be made, before thinking about who will make it. It would drive me insane. Some might say that's not a drive, just a short putt. Whatever, politics is most certainly not my game.

Buster Hyman
23rd Sep 2005, 10:47
Ben There :O You flatter me! However, I do agree...this is the regular quality we get on Dunnunda! . . . . .http://www.clicksmilies.com/s0105/grinser/grinning-smiley-021.gif(Sorry...couldn't keep a straight face)

Latham could have been the ALP's Kennett. Kennett, like him or loathe him, got Victoria back on the road after years of neglect. There was a price & Victorians paid it, but the State is much better off thanks to his hard decisions. I think people don't mind a bit of pain when there is a genuine reason for it. What he didn't learn was that you have to "reward" the electorate for doing the hard things. He probably got carried away with his reforms and the electorate punished him for it. He failed to "ease the squeeze" so to speak. Obviously, there were other factors in his downfall, but not for this thread.

Latham could've brought similar change to, not only the ALP, but to Federal politics as well. He had the arrogance & demeanor that Kennett had and, this was admired by many. What he lacked was restraint &, perhaps, common sense. Apart from throwing sand on photographers, I don't think Kennett lost self control very often. With time & a few more years on the front bench, Latham might have made it.

I guess another thing is that Federal Australia wasn't a basket case like Victoria was when Kennett got in. I think Victorians were ready for something, anything to save them from the polka dotted princess!!

Now, you mentioned charachter in Leaders. I went to a FOI conference today & it was chaired by John Cain. Very interesting speaker. He exuded a passion for the act (that he introduced) and you could tell he was proud of it.

I now have a profoundly different opinion of him today than I did yesterday. In hindsight, I guess he wasn't a bad Premier, but the finances of the State when he left will be his legacy.

But back to charachter. Today we have "Hymie" running the show and, I'm afraid, a great leader he aint! There are very few decision makers in the Govt. ranks these days. It's all consultants. There are no decisions without carefully worded opinion polls and community consultation. Yes, this is good in some cases but, it drags the machinations of Govt. to such a slow level, that it's almost unworkable. We need a leader that can walk into Cabinet and say "Right, this is what we're doing!" Not every time of course, that is the key. A real leader knows when to step in and "lead".