Mark Latham is getting as much support for his embarrassing, irrational
comments about the Labor Party in the new biography about him as he got
after he lost the last election – none. Pity, yes. Support, no.

“I think that Mark Latham is a sufferer of depression,” former
Victorian premier Jeff Kennett told ABC radio this morning. “I just
hope that he’s getting good help and good advice.” Kennett said that
while it was possible that Latham was “just a consistently aggressive
man,” he suspected there was more behind his erratic behaviour.

Latham was “the worst leader in our history,” says veteran Queensland Labor power broker Bill Ludwig in TheCourier-Mail.
“If he wants to find a place in history he’s found it – as the guy who
took us to the greatest defeat we’ve ever had,” said Ludwig. “In
political life some people make a contribution that is unforgettable
and some people are just forgettable. He’s one of the latter.”

premier Peter Beattie, who along with other Labor premiers were
described as “a-grade ars*holes,” said: “I think we should give Mark a
bit of slack. I know he is hurting. He is going through some pain. We
should give him that bit of slack, that bit of tolerance but we should
also move on.”

“I feel a bit sorry for Mark to be honest,” Beattie told the Nine Network
today. “I know it is really hard when you go through a loss like he did
in 2004. I also know it’s hard when you lose the leadership and you
have got to make that transfer from being in politics to being a
private citizen. I have seen a lot of people in my lifetime destroyed
by politics and I do genuinely feel sorry for what he has said and, for
him, I hope that the book in a sense is therapeutic.”

“It’s a cause for sadness” that Latham’s relationship with the ALP has
“broken down the same way as any domestic relationship,” said
opposition foreign affairs spokesman Robert McClelland, a former friend of Latham who was responsible for casting the final vote which landed him the leadership.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey