HITTING THE MARK

Reaction to today’s extract in The Bulletin from Bernard Lagan’s book on Mark Latham

The Daily Telegraph’s Malcolm Farr:

Former Labor leader Mark Latham has condemned his party as “beyond repair, beyond reform” and launched an extraordinary personal attack on Premier Bob Carr.

In explosive claims – printed in today’s edition of The Bulletin magazine – Mr Latham also says Labor deserves Kim Beazley because he is a “conservative, stand-for-nothing type of leader”.

The Age’s Michelle Grattan:

Yesterday Mr Beazley refused to be drawn into any broad response to Mr Latham’s remarks. “I’m absolutely not commenting on that book. I maintained my discipline yesterday and I maintain my discipline today,” he declared before extracts from the book published in the latest Bulletin magazine were released last night …

Mr Latham, whose own diaries will be published later this year, told Lagan: “In the circumstances, things turned out quite well. People got to see a glimpse of how Carr, Beattie and Gallop are A-grade arseholes. All their provincial bluster and posturing made no difference to anything. Never does.”

The Sydney Morning Herald’s Mark Metherell:

After six months of silence, Mark Latham has released a stream of invective against the party he led, dismissing Labor as “beyond repair” and Kim Beazley as a “stand-for-nothing type of leader”.

The savage criticism infuses Loner: Inside a Labor Tragedy, which records Mr Latham’s bitter feelings towards Labor and its leaders and charts his last days as Opposition Leader, stricken with pancreatitis. He describes premiers Bob Carr, Peter Beattie and Geoff Gallop as “A-grade arseholes”, Labor as a conservative institution run by conservative machine men and Parliament as a place he was not sorry to leave …

In warning those who see Labor as the best hope for social justice in Australia, he tells Lagan: “I’ve got to be honest about it. It’s a false hope.”

The blogosphere’s Brian O’Connell:

I was, I have to say, shocked by Mark Latham’s use of the a—hole word, if I can put it like that, which I just thought was coarse and very ill-thought through and I think demeans the man and is one of the reasons why people are slightly sceptical of his motives and everything else.

The Australian’s Brad Norington:

This man, who was meant to be the alternative prime minister with the capability to lead Australia with vision and good sense, is remarkably self-centred, spiteful, angry, obsessive, coarse and remote. He acts as if the world revolves around him and that he is bigger than the party he led.

The Courier-Mail’s Matthew Franklin:

Last night, Mr Beattie stood by the comments he had made during confusion about the Labor leadership and said he felt sorry that Mr Latham was so bitter.

“I plead guilty to telling the truth,” Mr Beattie said. “He’s not the first person to call me that (an arsehole) and he won’t be the last. I just feel sorry for him and I hope this has been good therapy for him.”

The Age’s Shaun Carney:

Five months after resuming as Labor leader, Beazley – far from having to decide which diplomatic function he should attend in Washington – finds himself having to turn the other cheek as the media and the Howard Government have fun with Latham’s criticisms. Just how much weight should be given to what Latham has to say about other politicians, advisers and public affairs generally is an interesting question, in light of his spectacular, ill-tempered downfall.

Editorial in The Australian:

Mark Latham has confirmed the judgment of the Australian people – that he lacked the discipline to be prime minister. And he has also endorsed the majority opinion expressed at last year’s election of the party he led, and once professed to love, that the Australian Labor Party is a stalled political machine beyond starting. Mr Latham’s message is obviously considered, coming in quotes from his diary included in a book extract published yesterday. But it is also inflammatory and designed to do as much damage to Labor as possible.

The Internet’s Jim Geones:

I have to agree with the commenter in Chris Sheila’s blog on election day who said that Mark Latham was a saint. He sure is. Can you imagine sacrificing your career, and exposing your mental instability to endless public ridicule & humiliation, purely in order to ensure the Howard government was re-elected with absolute control of the senate?

The ALP’s Mark Latham:

I am retired, mate.

News.com.au’s Shane Wright:

Mr Latham … reveals that he delayed his resignation in January so anti-Beazley forces could rally behind health spokeswoman Julia Gillard.

They failed, and Mr Beazley gained the leadership unchallenged.

The Herald Sun’s Michael Harvey:

In an ominous warning as Mr Beazley strives to reverse Labor’s fortunes, Mr Latham promises to say more about the ALP’s woes when his own diaries are published in October.

The Bradenton Herald’s Nick Mason reveals exclusive details of Latham’s new career:

Mosquito killers in Manatee County sprayed plenty of chemicals along the coast the past month, but they have found no sign of mosquito-borne disease here.

“We’ve been busy. It’s an early start to the season,” Mark Latham, director of the Manatee County Mosquito Control District, said Monday. “Last year, it didn’t start until mid-July. This year, it started the end of May.”

Larvatus Prodeo’s Mark Bahnisch:

I want a bumper sticker that says “Don’t Blame Me – I Never Wanted Latho for Leader”.

Western Sydney forum participant Ben:

The ALP gave Latham everything: financial help to go to university, well-paid jobs, a plum Labor seat – and this is how he repays it? I’d expect that kind of feeling of entitlement from someone who grew up on the North Shore.

The Age’s Michelle Grattan:

He bitches about the media, but the media were kind to him before the poll, and in some cases dazzled by him.

The Government’s Peter Costello:

I’m waiting for the diaries, I reckon they’ll be a smashing read.

Unions NSW’s John Robertson:

The Labor Party’s had rats in its ranks going all the way back to Billy Hughes and Mark’s just joined the conga line of rats that have left the Labor Party.

Ex-Bulletin staffer Bob Carr:

Here’s what Mark Latham should have said to his biographer: ‘It’s been a great honour to lead the political party that I joined as a youngster. I’m terribly sorry I wasn’t able to produce a victory for the grand old party of Australian politics. I congratulate Mr Howard and I unreservedly accept the verdict, tough though it is, of the Australian people, who are always right. I’ll do anything to help Kim Beazley and the Australian Labor Party, which is always the party I look to, to provide leadership for this great country.’

Posted by Tim B. on 06/28/2005 at 12:41 PM
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