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Last updated on March 6th, 2018 at 12:30 am
To paraphrase Jeffrey Barnard’s editors, Mark Latham is unwell:
“The news about my health has not been good. I have been told to rest and not to work, advice I am trying to follow,” Mr Latham said.
“Over the past fortnight I have tried to take a total break, do a few simple things with my family and make the best recovery possible.”
Good for him. The mystery remains, however, as to why his staff (and party) also followed the advice of Latham’s doctor. By resting and not working, they’ve allowed Latham’s recovery to become a massively damaging story. All they needed to do post-tsunami was issue a simple press release expressing concern, and urging Labor voters to support aid-gathering charities; then Mighty Leader could have retreated to Terrigal and nursed his withered pancreas back to full strength. The Sydney Morning Herald’s Mark Sawyer completely misses the point:
For pity’s sake, the reasons for the latest furore are pitiful. Spotted he was, guv’nor, frolicking with his kids by the hotel pool when he said he was sick and when he should be saying – or scrawling out or signing – something to support the tsunami victims!
One could believe from the hubbub that some kind words from the Green Valley Kid would make all the difference. What tosh!
The issue isn’t Magical Mark’s ability to undo tsunamis; the issue is Labor’s complete inability to manage elemental politics. Latham might be sick, but Labor is stupid.
Far from soothing his party, Mark Latham’s statement has fuelled anger and frustration across his front bench, throwing federal Labor into disarray.
After a week of waiting for Mr Latham to give an explanation of his illness and its prognosis, Labor MPs say the statement fails to resolve the two most vital issues: the real state of his health and his long-term leadership plans.
Exasperated by Mr Latham’s failure to make a tsunami statement, many senior MPs were even more disillusioned by the absence of a detailed explanation of his health in yesterday’s statement.
Tasmanian MP Dick Adams has criticised the Labor leadership’s handling of the tsunami disaster and expressed concern about Mark Latham’s ability to manage his illness while remaining leader.
The member for Lyons said Labor had “dropped the ball” in its response to the tsunami.
“Howard was a bit slow (to respond) and we should have said that we had a leadership role to play and that Australia needed to pledge a significant amount of money,” Mr Adams said. “(Labor) should have set the bar and we didn’t do that.”
Mr Adams is a former Latham supporter who spectacularly fell out with the Opposition Leader over the party’s election forest policy.