Latham ‘s clash with the media over his past continues to captivate
Crikey readers with its exciting mix of politics and journalism and
also raises questions about the role of the journalist and muckraking
in our society today.

A new Feature for the website

Following your two splendid recent examples, I suggest you need to
create a new feature on your “bilious little site” – the

Top two at the moment would be your apparent good friends Glenn Milne and Terry McCrann.

I reckon this would be a genuine asset if done with a suitable graphics
presentation – you could choose the tacho dial approach with the
winners names inscribed radially on the dial, red-lined at a suitable
point. Or a column / thermometer approach with a gradation of bilious
colours (to match site) from yellow for your basic indignant outrage to
red for fiery angry outrage to purple for
apoplectic-purple-in-the-face-and-about -to-have-stroke-or-coronary

Whatever it is, it needs its own page without clutter, and a high profile home page link or better an icon pointing to it.

Ah another thought, you have the icon and/or the meter background
colour changing proportional to currency and level of outrage, so it
might be green in good weeks, turning pulsating red/orange/purple when
you get a few together. On the icon this would serve to stimulate

As well as the obvious fun with genuinely outraged people, you could
add a few names at the green end for people who tried to be outraged
but who you can rile further by pretending that they didn’t quite get


Canberra, Australia

The media and the first Mrs Latham

The constant public trolling of the “scorned ex-wife” of Mark Latham by
News Limited will stop shortly when Liberal private polls tell them it
is having a negative impact on voters. It leaves most of us cold. I
personally am not interested in what caused their break-up and although
I have not had one, I do not consider anyone else, family apart, would
give a damn if I did. As they say, it takes two to tango and the
constant airing of one side wouldn’t get a line in a decent soap opera,
let alone be in the public interest. The Murdoch press has lost its
legitimacy in Australia as it has no ability to be fair and without
favour. Australians are among the highest educated in the world and can
smell media bias with one whiff. In the land of the “fair go” character
assassination just does not get a guernsey.


Journos and fixers

It’s interesting to watch the Media Quickstep with Bob Collins in the
NT. I’m quite prepared to leave the man alone and give him a fair go,
but the journos and fixers apply a different standard when it concerns
one of their own. When Hollingsworth had the various allegations made
against him, the journos held a kangaroo court on the man, and hung
him. They didn’t have the brains at the time to realise what they were
doing to their profession, but the chickens are now coming home to
roost. I cannot recall a time when journos were held in such contempt.
None of my neighbours have a kind word for them. One told me that they
were either ‘corrupt, queer, Red, on dope or booze.’ What a despicable
profession. Incidentally, I’ll take a bet with you. I’ll bet that
Latham is going to lead the ALP to another Whitlam-like disaster at the
polls. This is not good for the country. A healthy democracy depends on
a strong Opposition. It’s not in our national interests to have a rump
ALP in Canberra. What did the ancient Greeks say: ‘those whom the Gods
seek to destroy . . . .?’

C. Bailey

Latham’s name calling

Isn’t everyone getting just a little bit precious when trying to
suggest Latham is hypocritical attacking the dirt diggers? It’s
pathetic of Lampe and Albrechtsen to seriously compare a single
name-calling incident in parliament to the blatant media-supported lies
Latham’s been subjected to. If all national papers ran some
unsubstantiated stories about sex and violence in their families, would
they regard that as equivalent to the parliamentary comments? I
suspect not. An outrageous example of moral equivalence almost on a par
with Greg Barns offensive Tasmanian forests/Middle East analogy.

Nick Shimmin

The Americanisation of our politicians

Are we really as dumb as the Yanks? Are Mark Latham and the Labor party
really as dumb as they look right now? The big issues we faced this
week. I could’ve been mistaken for thinking I was in America just recently as
the apparent ‘uproar’ about false rumors against poor old Mark.

exactly is the point, or relevance of all this? Are we really that
stupid now that obscure details from someone’s past (and let’s face it,
you should watch day-time soaps if you want proper scandal) and not ANY
reasons what they’ll actually do as leader of this country, will be the
way we decide upon a leader? Americans seem happy to let debates about
who did what in their college days decide who will look after their
children’s school. Surely we in Australia are a little more
intelligent, or just not pig ignorant of anything important?

Latham and important political issues

All this gossip regarding Mark Latham is a distraction from central and
important issues. It seems both sides of politics and the media
desire to perpetuate this battle of personal history and “muck raking”
at the expense of real political debate.

We are approaching an election where for the first time in years there
may be a real alternative to the Liberal Government. It is time
Latham began some true policy debate, backed by true policies. It
is time the Government dealt with real issues, rather than
scare-mongering, innuendo and gossip.

Health, superannuation and aged care, housing and education are domestic issues that need to be addressed.

It is time for a real debate about the ethics and alternatives to
Mandatory Detention. It is time for real debate about foreign
policy issues; our involvement in Iraq, the nature of our alliance with
the U.S. and our role and relationships of this South East region.

These are just a few of the many essential issues that effect our lives and lifestyle.

Yes, the character of our leaders is important, but let them show us
their character by their present actions and decisions. Let us
not ignore the necessary immediate debate, by focussing on sensational
and salacious past rumors,

Matthew McArdle


John Howard says he doesn’t support muckraking but his actions speak
louder than his words and this time he cannot claim not to know or that
he wasn’t told. He was in the parliamentary chamber when Peter
Costello, in typical smirking fashion, was egging on the press gallery
to probe Mark Latham’s time as Mayor of Liverpool.

And what an own goal that turned out to be for PMPK the poor man’s Paul
Keating (Paul Keating without the charisma or the wit), who continues
to bang on about something he clearly knows little about (Coalition
starts digging for financial dirt – AFR p5 7/7/04).

Had Costello watched the Sunday program he would have noted that the
Latham Mayoralty produced a range of excellent civic works, while his
management record and an potential as a future Prime Minister received
a glowing endorsement from a leading businessman and Liberal party


Latham’s inexperience

A little piece of history for John Winston Howard! His hero Robert
Gordon Menzies was elected to Federal Parliament in 1934 aged 40. He
only had 5 years experience when elected Prime Minister aged 45.

Mark Latham was elected to Federal Parliament in 1994 aged 33. He will
have served twice as many years should he win the next election and
become Prime Minister aged 44.

On this basis how does one judge inexperience and immaturity and fitness for leadership between these two politicians?

Incidentally Robert Menzies entered Federal Parliament on the resignation of the Member of Kooyong, Sir John Latham.


Terrific Terry TV

As an ex-nine employee, I read with great interest and laughter Terry TV’s highly insightful briefs.

He/She is so spot on it is scary. I remember when another contributor
“Mike Moore” was dishing the dirt on ACA, the IT department was ordered
to stop playing computer games and track all mails leaving Carinia
House. (Building where ACA and Today are housed).

There are plenty of people at Nine who like nothing more than seeing
the Turd Floor get a kicking. In some ways Terry TV is actually acting
as a motivator for the seasoned 9’ers. They’re loving this! As staff
lamented over beers at the Bridgeview when JA started interfering, “He
won’t last 2 years. Then Gyngell will be left to fix all the f**k ups”
Similar lines muttered when Jim Dudder hit the scene.

So Terry, love your work mate! Keep it up! You make a lot of people who
actually KNOW a thing or two about TV laugh as the network rapidly

As for Nine, you may find that the e-mails and gossip etc aren’t even
originating from within! There are plenty of people with good inside
knowledge of Nine and who maintain life long contacts with current
employees. And if you really want to know what the staff think, head to
the Bridgy. The address is 580 Willoughby Road. It isn’t on the way to
the Eastern Suburbs, but one of the “workers” may be able to point you
in the right direction.

A Crikey Lifer

The Sunday program

Why is Sunday doing another job on the ALP this week? – hassling
Garrett because he’s changed his mind, become a little more
conservative as he got older! So what? The same is true of everyone I

Look at Jim Bacon, or Abbott and Costello. And Malcolm Fraser has
changed his politics it seems in the past decade! Why aren’t they
chasing down what it exactly that Hanke and the other publicly funded
bureaucrats are doing at the taxpayer’s expense? Or any one of the
million lies told by the Government in its last term. That’s the public
interest. Not a ‘what maketh the man’ biopic about a single political

Well, ok, now they are running the story about Hanke, but after some
excellent work on camera by Hillary Bray it’s devolved into a wishy
washy story about ‘rumour’. Minchin is defending using Government
staffers for dirt digging!

All in all only a half-decent effort. Pass conceded.

AFL State of Origin

Patrick Fitzgerald’s scenario for the return of State of Origin
actually highlighted why it died in Western Australia. People
stopped coming to the games in the mid- to late-90s for one reason – we
weren’t playing Victoria. In fact the last time WA played
Victoria in a State of Origin game was in 1991. No-one ever gave
a toss about the Allies – even their jumpers were crap – and the games
against SA felt like we were playing for second place.

For it to be of any interest, it needs to be done in a format where
everyone plays everyone, ie week 1 – WA v Allies, SA v Vic; week 2 – WA
v SA, Allies v Vic; week 3 – WA v Vic, SA v Allies. The State of
Origin champion is the side that tops the rankings after those
games. To spread them out, they could be after AFL Round 6, 12
and 18 – giving non-Origin players three weeks off during the season,
and players who come into form at different times of the year, or who
are injured, a chance to play for their state that they may not have
had if it was a once a year format. And howls of protest at
players missing through mysterious injuries would be lessened because
there would be two other opportunities for them to take part.

The only risk would be that the impact of such games would be diluted
because their frequency. But that hasn’t seemed to have happened
in rugby league. Of course, it lengthens the current AFL season
by two weeks, but cutting the couple of weeks of practice matches that
are held before the pre-season competition would get it down to the
same overall length.

Elliott Brannen
WA-based Kangaroos member

The Melbounre Cup Centenary

Patrick Fitzgerald in his article “Emirates Lands Melbourne Cup Coup”
mentions that the Centenary Melbourne Cup was run in 1961 and muses as
to why the 150th is being run in 2010.

He makes one basic mistake. The Centenary Melbourne Cup was run in
1960, not 1961. He is correct when he states that Hi Jinx won the
Centenary Melbourne Cup, but she won it in 1960. A quick check of any
Melbourne Cup reference will reveal that Lord Fury won the 1961
Melbourne Cup.

Any number of books include Davies and Kavanagh’s History of the
Melbourne Cup highlight the fact that the 100th running of the cup was
in fact celebrated as the Centenary Cup. Even a postage stamp was
released in 1960 to commemorate this fact.

Thus the VRC are being consistent when they plan to celebrate the 150th Melbourne Cup in 2010.

Rising Fast,

Patrick Fitzgerald: “I am being dope tested as we speak for
claiming the Centenary Melbourne Cup was run in 1961, the year Lord
Fury won the big race. Hi Jinx
did win the100th running a year earlier in 1960, so right horse but
wrong year. So there is nothing wrong with the VRC’s arithmetic
to stage the 150th anniversary in 2010, and everything with mine. While
I am at it another reader earlier queried my brief posting of
claiming the Maktoum family had yet to win the Cup. I had meant
that as relative to their Godolphin operation which was changed within
the hour of posting when I realised I had not qualified it. No
wonder I backed Media Puzzle!” – Patrick Fitzgerald

Peter Fray

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