See how Mark Latham picked on the Parrot for following the lead of
fellow conservative Piers Akerman and read Akerman’s outraged response
to Crikey, followed by another recent Akerman outburst on Latham’s
financial record at Liverpool Council:
Iron Mark vs The Parrot
Subscriber email – 10 July
Some of the Saturday papers reported that Mark Latham really
stuck it to Alan Jones in a long interview on Friday morning. We didn’t
hear it, but you can read the full transcript here.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
It wasn’t exactly a Kennettesque demolition, but Latham certainly
picked the Parrot up for relying on biased Piers Akerman columns about
his time as Liverpool Mayor and also for trying to quote an anonymous
woman about the 15-year-old alleged king-hit.
In the process, Latham also gave the overpaid, low-rating 2UE shock
jock Steve Price a serve for putting a caller to air who made up a
story about seeing the video of Iron Mark cavorting with a stripper at
his bucks party.
It is rare indeed for a politician to be so robust with the Parrot
so here is the full exchange where Price gets a serve and the Parrot
gets pressured for not naming the dirt-dishing woman:
PARROT: A woman has written to me and said as to
the alleged king-hit, I had first hand view of it. I think the issue
is; are you saying it as it was?
LATHAM: Who is that woman, Alan?
PARROT: You are welcome to the letter.
LATHAM: What is her name?
PARROT: I will give you the letter off air. I’m not going to name her on air here.
LATHAM: Why not? She has written the letter
PARROT: You can have a look at the letter.
LATHAM: You’ve read it out. Why wouldn’t you name her?
PARROT: No, I’ve only read what she said because that wouldn’t be fair to her.
LATHAM: Then I can tell whether or not she would have been there.
PARROT: Well, I will let you know.
LATHAM: I had someone on a rival program of yours, a caller
rang in and said he had seen video, this, that and the other thing, and
the broadcaster was repeating it left, right and centre and then had to
face up to the fact it was a prank.
PARROT: There is no prank here. I’m happy to show you the letter and I think this woman was quite sincere.
LATHAM: Well, I can’t respond to anonymous claims.
PARROT: Well, I’ll give you the letter.
PARROT: It is as simple as that.
LATHAM: Okay, you can give me the letter but I can’t on your program right now respond –
PARROT: No, well, Mark, we will correct –
LATHAM: I had [inaudible] in the week, it wasn’t true and the broadcaster (Steve Price) subsequently had to own up to that.
And here is the full exchange about Akerman’s credibility.
We completely agree that anything served up by Piers Akerman completely
lacks credibility and independence. He’s no Ross Coulthart.
PARROT: A Liverpool Council representative who researched the
financial statement of accounts for June 1994 for the Daily Telegraph
told them that the working funds of $770,000 were incorrect, that the
budgeted figure for June 1994 was $1.1 million but the actual figure
was a [inaudible] million deficit not surplus.
LATHAM: I think they are figures given to the Liberal Party
by Piers Akerman that he wrote in the Daily Telegraph so, Alan, not an
independent or credible source but the facts show that the debt
servicing ratio came down, working funds balance went up and the budget
was in surplus.
PARROT: Just on debt servicing ratio –
LATHAM: And, Alan, we had a lot of interviews, I think, when
I was Mayor of Liverpool and we talked about all of the good things –
the efficiency gains, and improvements that were being made. You
[inaudible] those interviews and I think the public record confirms
that Council was well run between 1991 and 1994.
PARROT: But the issue here, though, is you getting
it right in what you’re saying about yourself. You said the Council’s
debt servicing ratio had fallen from 17.2 per cent to 10 per cent. You
said, your words, half of the western Sydney average of 20 per cent.
Now, the debt servicing ratio did fall but the western Sydney average
wasn’t 20 per cent, it was 12 per cent.
LATHAM: Well, not in the figures that I’ve got, and in my
records from the time when I was chairman of WSROC. But, Alan, you are
drawing from the Piers Ackerman article, aren’t you?
PARROT: No, no – look, there is a lot of things, Mark, I haven’t mentioned –
LATHAM: When you say it is in the Daily Telegraph you are reading from the Piers Akerman article.
PARROT: I’ll say to you I’ll be quite honest with you –
LATHAM: It would be very, very hard to regard that as an independent source – really, come on, be fair dinkum here –
PARROT: There are a lot of things that come across our desks –
LATHAM: But you are reading from the Piers Akerman article, aren’t you?
PARROT: No, I’m not reading from any article, Mark. This
information – I could read to you from a letter I received yesterday,
if you like, but I don’t deal this way. But that letters tells me –
LATHAM: But when you are talking about the Daily Telegraph you are referring to the Piers Ackerman article, aren’t you?
PARROT: No, the Daily Telegraph, itself, has made reference to those figures in editorial comment.
LATHAM: The Daily Telegraph article by Piers Akerman
PARROT: But Piers Akerman has to stand by his figures.
LATHAM: They are given to him by the Liberal Party and it is just not accurate and nor is it independent.
CRIKEY: If Iron Mark wants to win back support from working
journalists on the ground, these supports of comments about Akerman and
exchanges with The Parrot will help his cause.
Letter of the week – Piers Akerman
Subscriber email – 12 July
Daily Telegraph columnist Piers Akerman writes:
You’ve blown it again. You’ve run your usual bilious attack upon me and
then tried to support by running a transcript of a Mark Latham
interview. Given the ALP doesn’t usually put out transcripts of its
leader’s hilarious utterances it’s worth reading.
Why? Because, in his predictable fashion, he contradicts himself. He
says that I gave the Liberal Party information on his appalling
performance at the helm of Liverpool Council and then he goes on to say
the Liberal Party gave me that information.
The truth is that the tip came from the ALP. It came from those within
the ALP who know Latham and think he’s the original loose cannon and
not to be trusted. I have never been given a tip about Latham by any
other than Labor supporters.
Think about it, and for God’s sake think twice before you publish
anything as dopey as this totally contradictary crap. You should send
the money back to those who pay you for this rubbish. Did you actually
question my credibility?
CRIKEY: It is most amusing how News Ltd columnists such as Piers
and Terry McCrann keep predicting we will refuse to run their hilarious
letters. The Piers letter arrived last night at 6.42pm but we only
discovered it a few minutes before the first edition went out this
morning. We loved it and immediately decided it was too good for
yoursay on the site and instead would go out as an item in today’s
second edition. Kate published a new Yoursay on the site at about 3.30pm this afternoon and at 3.40pm we received this email from Piers:
Hey, stupid: You haven’t run the letter I sent about your latest idiotic attack on me.
Crikey replied at 3.54pm as follows:
Piers, it’s too good for yoursay on the site and it’s going
out in our 5pm edition to 15,000 inboxes. Thanks for the excellent
After sending this we then discovered another email from Piers at
3.52pm, this time we were CC on a missive to blogger Tom (sic) Blair:
Tim, did you see the transcript of the Latham-Jones
interview on Crikey at the weekend? Mayne and Latham attempt to attack
me for disclosing his lies about his Liverpool council perfomance but
as you can read on the transcript, Latham says I gave the Liverpool
data to the government AND the government gave the data to me. Only in
I have written Mayne a letter pointing out how dopey he is and what the
transcript shows. He should know, as everyone else does, that Labor
remains Latham’s biggest problem. All the material exposing his
disloyalty, his inability to run a local council, has come from Labor
people he has burned as he trod on them during his scaling of the
ladder of opportunism.
Why doesn’t Mayne have the balls to run letters pointing out his inadequacies – are there too many?
Akerman moans: “why won’t media follow my hatchet jobs?”
Subscriber email – 28 June
The Murdoch tabloids haven’t been far behind The Australian with
“far-right” attack dogs Piers Akerman and Andrew Bolt leading the
charge against Latham and Labor. Akerperson had an amusing spray
against the left-leaning press in this week’s Sunday Tele which you can
His complaint is that the media have not followed up his
Liberal-planted and researched stories about Mark Latham’s financial
record at Liverpool Council.
It is worth dwelling on a few specific paragraphs as follows:
“What is scandalous is that these issues have received absolutely no
coverage in the press. When Latham, in pre-reformation mode, used to
present untruths about individuals, notably journalists – including me
– under the coward’s cloak of parliamentary privilege, his revisionist
statements were duly presented to the public as though they might
contain a modicum of truth.
“Yet when the facts about Latham are presented, there is silence. As
Professor Julius Sumner Miller used to ask: ‘Why is this so?’
“Surely journalists seeking to unravel truths from the front lines of
the political battlefields would have filed stories on Latham’s claims
and the counter-charges by Pyne and Minchin, going – as they do – to
the heart of Latham’s claims, not to mention his management ability?
Where are these stories? The Australian media, like the rest of the
Western world’s media, innately leans to the left.”
CRIKEY: There is a simple explanation, Piers. It is called your
credibility. You have none. You are a one-eyed mouthpiece of the
Liberal Party. You are a plagiarist. You also accept Israeli
government-funded trips as well as passing off Israeli press releases
as your own work. You have no balance.
There is also a lesson in this for the Liberal Party. If you plant a
story with Akerman, the implication is that the mainstream media would
not buy the yarn and you’ve been forced to use a less respected outlet
– someone less inclined to critically check the brief. That said, we’re
a little surprised that the Libs haven’t used Crikey to dump a detailed
bucket on Latham over Liverpool council, just like they did with this
piece on Centenary House. Afterall, we offer the best email
distribution in the country and a dump on Crikey has far more
credibility than anything served up by the blatantly biased Akerman.
Crikey engages in unfriendly-fire with News Ltd hacks
Subscriber email – 29 June
Crikey had a crack at Piers Akerman yesterday who has replied as follows:
Your joke website (sic – it was in the email newsletter) is wrong
again. Your lack of credibility is matched only by the incoherence of
the ungrammatical garbage carried on your site. Once regarded as a
potentially serious journalist, you have become a clown in the eyes of
your former colleagues. I would suggest you are the last to talk of
For the record, the tip on Latham’s failure at Liverpool did not come
from the Liberal Party as you would be aware if you had read my first
article on his dismal fiscal skills back in February. I should also
point out that when I did visit Israel – in a party of journalists
which included representatives of The Age, The Advertiser, The Courier
Mail and SBS – I made it perfectly clear that the group visit was
sponsored by the Australian Board of Jewish Deputies.
It has also escaped your notice that I was the instigator and organiser
of a series of visits to various Palestinian Authority officials
including Ashrawi, Saeb Erakat and others. This is always conveniently
forgotten by anti-semitic activists.
As for plagiarism, get a life. There was no plagiarism as it is not
plagiarism to repeat fact. Thanks for the mention though, it triggered
the usual wave of supportive messages from those who read your rubbish
for their daily laugh. To think I once encouraged you.
News Ltd columnist
Akerman’s outburst following the Latham – Parrot interview prompted
a number of subscriber to email us. Here are some of their
Who’s the clown? What a moron Akerman is, because you know you are
winning when the idiot responds. His ego overwhelms his intellect (not
too difficult, I can hear you say) its just a matter of the ratio
between the 2 components!
Keep up the good work.
Latham tells The Parrot that Akerman gave figures to the Liberals and then later in the same interview says the reverse.
In his eagerness to score cheap points, Piers has obviously overlooked
that Latham might have just had a slip of the tongue, the sort of thing
that can easily happen in a live radio interview. If you look at the
context of the entire transcript, it’s pretty clear that Latham
probably meant to say the Liberals passed Akerman the figures (after
all, he certainly has notorious form for passing on the dirt and spin
of his ideological masters, and the reverse doesn’t really make any
It’s pathetic if this is the best he can offer to try to knock Crikey
down, along with a few tame epithets (“clown”, “stupid”). NB. Does that
mean you can fire back at him terms like “toad” or “former cokehead”?
At least fellow traveller Terry McCrann offered up pages and pages of
tedious and obsessive rebuttal, even though it was larded with far
naughtier words than Piers uses.
You guys are doing a public service as seen by the recent response from
Piers Akerman (Monday, 12 July).
I estimate it took him at least 30 minutes to put that short spiel
together – so that is 30 minutes less he has spent today writing crap
that people may read and take notice of.
Keep up the good work!
Mike Chivers, WA
Poor Piers. He is trying so hard to be a major player on television thathe forgets he is on the ABC and not Sixty Minutes.
Truth is, Piers is so politically biased as to be an afront to
journalism. A true journlaist attacks the issues not the person,
attacks the problem and its continuing not the messenger
Yet Piers seems fit to act so childishly against Crikey.
May I refer him to a movie once made with Clark Gable in the role as an
editor. Piers needs to see that movie and learn what real journlaism is
Congratulations on the demolition job on one of Australia’s most
pitiful journalists. Akerman’s columns should end with, “Written
and authorised by John Howard for the Liberal Party”.
His ability to spruik, launch damage control campaigns (Badries and
WMDs), and deny screw ups for the conservatives is truly astounding.
For example, when virtually every other journalist (apart from The Melbourne Akerman, A. Bolt) was
critical of Howard’s children overboard lies Akerman offered this crap: “And as for the reports that a
child or children went overboard at a time when men were threatening to
thrown women and children over, it would seem that the amount of action
taking place almost mitigated against the distinction between threats
and actuality being made. A little sloppy but in the bigger scheme of
the rescue, not unforgivable.”
I will expect he will follow his usually intellectually bankrupt
approach to this discussion by calling you more nasty names rather than
admitting he actually gets things wrong.
Expect the phrase “gutless, lefty, ABC-type, rumourmongering elite with
a sad pitiful unread website” to be thrown about or words to that