Crikey



Latham head clown in this election circus

It’s a fairly plain bowl of muesli in this morning’s media coverage, with Mark Latham adding the prerequisite nuts to yesterday’s campaign trail mix and a dollop of tax policy to taste.

If you haven’t watched the excruciating footage of Sky News covering Mark Latham the journo covering Tony Abbott, may I suggest you go watch it immediately, even if it’s eight minutes of your life you’ll never get back.

Latham seems unaware of normal journalistic practice. “As he waited to confront Tony Abbott, Mark Latham said someone told him journalism was 90 per cent waiting and 10 per cent confrontation,” writes Sid Maher in The Oz, “The figures don’t seem to be adding up for the former Labor leader.”

He’s head clown in this election circus. “Welcome to Day 6 of Sideshow Mark Latham’s hijacking of the election campaign, previously dominated by Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott and, of course, Kevin Rudd,” writes Nick Tabakoff, “Yesterday, Sideshow Mark seemed intent on showing he was an equal opportunity pest to both parties.”

But the bizarre Abbott and Latham showdown was a bit of a let down, their conversation just petered off. ”This seemed a pity — consensus across the media camp was that a fellow like Abbott might be tempted to sit Latham on his behind in any test of masculinity, even if Latham had once broken a hapless taxi driver’s arm,” writes Tony Wright in The Age.

Latham wasn’t quite as tough as normal. According to a ‘body language expert’, ”Mark Latham was less aggressive in confronting Tony Abbott than he was with Julia Gillard, and even seemed intimidated himself,” reports Drew Warne-Smith.

As Marieke Hardy wrote at The Drum earlier this week, there isn’t much difference between the two: “Tony Abbott is mad. Madder than Mark Latham at a mad convention hosted by Charles Manson featuring a special guest musical performance by G G Allin. If you’re so determined to buy the glossy facade currently handcrafted by a meticulous team of Liberal powerbrokers, then more fool you.”

Samantha Maiden agreed in The Oz: “The curious thing about the Opposition Leader’s disciplined campaign is that not so long ago, Latham and Abbott were seen as peas in a pod.”

Abbott’s had a mixed week and despite Rooty Hill, Gillard’s campaign is back on track. But it’s still anyone’s game, argues Michelle Grattan in The Age:

A week out, all the options seem open: a Gillard win, an Abbott victory, a hung Parliament. The betting is currently favouring Labor. Many people are still to make up their mind; some will wait even until they hover with pencil in hand.”

Some are still talking up the vibe at Rooty Hill and the fact that it was a bad omen for the PM. “The worry for Gillard and Labor is the amount of cynicism displayed by the audience and the fact the Prime Minister wasn’t able to talk them around,” writes Dennis Atkins inThe Courier-Mail.

Despite all the sideshow antics, the economy is still the most crucial campaign topic and the Coalition’s new tax policy, released earlier this week, is getting mixed reviews.

Neither side is promising much, but it’s a start for Peter Martin at The Age: “For the moment, the Coalition looks more ready to embrace the rest of Henry than does Labor. We have a tax debate. Sort of.”

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25 Responses

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  1. Wonder if he will tip on Gillard on Sunday with the Craig Emerson affair reported in the Womens Weekly?

    And then let fly at Abbott over the Pauline Hanson stuff

    should make riverting viewing

    by Robertson on Aug 13, 2010 at 9:23 am

  2. The most peculiar thing about this morning election news is the minimal coverage of the Morgan poll. This poll has labor streaking ahead 57.5-42.5. Sure, it may be a rogue, an outlier, or an infernal product from the witches in Macbeth but it does nevertheless indicate that Labor is continuing to gain ground.

    It should be big news, why is it being ignored?

    by David Sanderson on Aug 13, 2010 at 9:28 am

  3. David S,

    Why, indeed. Nothing short of a mystery.

    On Latham: who thought any being could come close to the pure embarrassment engendered in Australians by the Nine Network’s Sam Newman? I’m not claiming Latham is as grotesque as Newman but he appears destined for the same league. It says everything about the Nine Network that these two imbeciles have been invited onto their payroll. To call Newman and Latham ‘halfwits’ is too generous.

    by zut alors on Aug 13, 2010 at 9:46 am

  4. David Sanderson,

    Yeah - agree completely. Heard it on the 5:30 news on 2UE this morning, then nothing. Can’t even find reference to it on the web now, except on Crikey!

    by Tomboy on Aug 13, 2010 at 10:03 am

  5. Tomboy,

    There was a discussion on the poll on ABC2 News Breakfast but, apparently, silence elsewhere.

    by zut alors on Aug 13, 2010 at 10:09 am

  6. What a wonderfully bizarre lot you journalists are.
    The way you all go “girlie” at Latham who is probably the most refreshing interviewer we have seen since Norman Gunstan . It’s embarrassing for a profession (Gfawww!!) that purports to occupy the 4th Estate - whatever that means.

    Latham is interesting
    Latham is funny
    Latham is knowledgeable
    Latham has a sense of humor
    Latham means ratings
    Latham is intense

    Something that all of you can only dream about.

    by Michael on Aug 13, 2010 at 10:14 am

  7. There’s a vid of the poll story on the national times website, but very strange regarding its absence elsewhere. sure it may be wrong, but it tells a story, especially about growing support for the ALP in Qld after the Rudd/Gillard treaty.

    Maybe it just doesn’t fit the narrative (whatever that may be this morning).

    Good to see Latham using his powers for good instead of evil, reminding the wingnuts of what Abbott did to Hanson. Sneaky. Now lets hope he has sense enough not to stuff up the ALP launch. A forlorn hope I suppose, he seems to be out of control and his Channel 9 paymasters are loving it.

    by apeman on Aug 13, 2010 at 10:50 am

  8. The NewRadio website has a good discussion with a Morgan rep.

    by David Sanderson on Aug 13, 2010 at 11:00 am

  9. It should be big news, why is it being ignored?

    For those with long memories, rewind to 2001. A Morgan poll, at a similar stage of the election campaign, found roughly the same result (about 57-43 Labor’s way). I remember it well. It freaked me out because I’d placed a sizeable bet on Howard winning that one. As all know, Howard won that election, the poll was rogue, and I’ve taken Morgan polls with a grain of salt ever since.

    by Troy C on Aug 13, 2010 at 11:26 am

  10. reminding the wingnuts of what Abbott did to Hanson. Sneaky.

    You’re not pro-Hanson, are you?

    by Troy C on Aug 13, 2010 at 11:29 am

  11. More Horse Race Journalism by Crikey. Are you having fun? We’re not.

    by powerisnotstrength on Aug 13, 2010 at 11:41 am

  12. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that you are a Liberal supporter. “Horse race’ journalism has a place in the coverage. To say it doesn’t is holier-than-thou rubbish.

    by David Sanderson on Aug 13, 2010 at 11:47 am

  13. How ironic it is that Latham has joined the conga line of suckholes called journalists.

    He and the Nine Network are perfect for each other.

    by Socratease on Aug 13, 2010 at 12:00 pm

  14. Troy, I hope you haven’t doubled up that bet with a bet on the Liberal’s this time around. The circumstances are very different this time.

    by David Sanderson on Aug 13, 2010 at 12:16 pm

  15. David Sanderson, have you replaced the gold-framed portrait of Rudd in your living room yet? There’s only one person here whose every single word is always motivated by party loyalty, and it’s not me.

    by powerisnotstrength on Aug 13, 2010 at 12:35 pm

  16. Troy, I hope you haven’t doubled up that bet with a bet on the Liberal’s this time around. The circumstances are very different this time.

    No, I’m not that silly. Labor will prevail. But it will come at a terrible cost. Gillard’s promise to open a processing centre in East Timor will be exposed as a sham. Another GFC is brewing. Wayne Swan will deploy copious amounts of stimulus. His “three-years-ahead-of-schedule” budget surplus will be postponed indefinitely. Years of budget deficits beckon. America will enter depression, unless Bernanke prints copious quantities of US dollars. Japan will default. So yes, Tony Abbott’s Liberals will be defeated, but it will be a blessing in disguise. The next few years will be an opportune time to be in opposition.

    by Troy C on Aug 13, 2010 at 1:05 pm

  17. @ Troy

    you are dead right

    by Robertson on Aug 13, 2010 at 1:08 pm

  18. Troy, you forgot to mention the return of the Black Plague.

    by David Sanderson on Aug 13, 2010 at 1:30 pm

  19. @Troy
    Could you put that in verse form for us, Nostradamus?

    by apeman on Aug 13, 2010 at 1:37 pm

  20. Latham did not actually break the bloody taxi drivers arm.

    by shepherdmarilyn on Aug 13, 2010 at 1:42 pm

  21. Hey Troy
    u didn’t mention Israel striking at the Iranian reactor gotta happen soon.Anyway exciting times Greens & others may have balance of power in Senate,if they stick to their platform then AGW gets back where it should be, right in our faces.Whoever is in Govt will have to deal on Carbon,if not so what,eventually double disso more debate can only be good might even convert some “Trogs”.As Garnault suggested the sooner we acknowledge Carbon Price & factor into the economy the better(cheaper in the long run).After all the Libs and some Labor want to protect their current business buddies instead of unleashing new sustainable enterprises that will flourish in a new environment.This sounds cruel but modern humanity has always had to do this,there always has been Government intervention or meddling whatever in economies/society sometimes for the better sometimes not.The peer reviewed Science is clear on this,we need to act,just like we did with Ozone Destruction and CFC’s, we would all be” cooking” now if not for that action taken.

    by oga on Aug 13, 2010 at 2:14 pm

  22. How do you figure that Marilyn?

    HELEN DALLEY: While neither laid charges, Bachir Mustafa’s arm was dislocated with a fracture. He says he needed an elbow operation, still takes prescription painkillers, hasn’t been able to work to support four young children since the incident, and still hasn’t been paid his fare.

    BACHIR MUSTAFA: Well he already ruined my career

    full story http://sgp1.paddington.ninemsn.com.au/sunday/cover_stories/transcript_1087.asp

    by SBH on Aug 13, 2010 at 2:45 pm

  23. That’s right Amber, follow Julia Gillard’s example with the personal attacks on Latham - don’t bother addressing anything of substance, such as the media’s incestuous relationship with politicians - like a junkie is to a dealer.

    Mark’s great because he is beholden to know one, gives a fresh perspective and raises issues that would otherwise be ignored. He is an erudite and eloquent person with that great aussie humour that cuts through the spin and summarises all the important points in a single line e.g. “Maxine McKew memorial line” conveyed that the Epping rail line was a marginal seat gimmick and that a greater need for infrastructure was required elsewhere (Western Sydney).

    By chosing to go down the path of the whistleblower, we should be hailing Mark’s ‘Latham Diaries’ rather than denigrating this individual. Is it any wonder that we don’t have more capable people like Mark in politics. I for one can’t wait for his 60 minutes report.

    PS: And for the guy that called Mark Latham a tool on Q&A - he had the opportunity to ask our PM a question of substance and an ad-hominen attack is all he could come up with? Mummy must have been so proud, he used the word ‘tool’ on national TV.

    by macroeconomist on Aug 13, 2010 at 3:02 pm

  24. Mark Latham, once leader and straight talker,
    Now employed by Nine as pollie stalker,
    Gives competitors at Channel Seven
    A story for them manna from heaven.
    Real news about a policy announced
    Is sidelined as they show how Latham pounced
    On our would-be PM Tony Abbott,
    Whose job if Latham could have he’d grab it.
    They’ve also watched him after Gillard traipse.
    Is there no other news than his sour grapes?

    by PatriciaWA on Aug 13, 2010 at 9:45 pm

  25. eloquent…great aussie humour

    Haha Macroeconomist, I hope you’re taking the piss :)

    by mook schanker on Aug 14, 2010 at 11:41 am

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