Not so much what the papers say today as what the papers say about Mark Latham. The Australian’s Paul Kellyreports that it was the sleaze that made Latham quit.
In an interview with the paper, Latham says he was ready to “pull the
pin” on the Labor leadership in early December when a sexual
harassment rumour was circulated by his own party.

According to Latham, Julia Gillard should be leader and not Kim
Beazley, who is “unfit to clean the parliamentary toilets,” reports the SMH. The paper notes Latham’s utter despair “after it was alleged he had to be pulled off a
new Labor MP, Kate Ellis, by Ms Gillard at a Canberra nightclub, the
Holy Grail, last December.” The SMH also observes just how far Latham’s stocks have plummeted. Until mid-afternoon yesterday, writes Mike Seccombe, the Australian Labor Party
website was offering 50% off t-shirts that “bore two words that are
now anathema in Labor circles: Mark Latham.” But at 2.43pm “the sale offer disappeared from the site.”

The Age tells how Latham’s explosive critique of the ALP
snowballed into an “extraordinary series of court battles between
media groups over the right to tell his story first.” And perhaps Peter
Costello has some sympathy for Latham, admitting that he too lies awake
at
night worrying about what his critics say, writes Misha Schubert in The Age. “There have been nights when I have been awake at 3am listening
to the papers plop on the lawns of my neighbours, telling them over
their Weeties what a shocking person I am.”

“PURE VENOM: LATHAM BLASTS ‘SICK PUPPIES'” is the Herald Sun‘s
lead, noting how Latham has lashed out beyond his explosive diaries,
claiming the political system is so hate-filled that no sane person
would want to work there. He’s happy to leave behind all those “sick
puppies in the Labor Party.”


The Daily Tele
bucks the Latham trend, covering most of the front page with “Pride of the State” noting that Sydney is going in to battle against interstate rivals on two sporting fronts, with the Sydney Swans taking
on St Kilda for an AFL guernsey at the MCG tonight and the Wests Tigers are
“out to settle another mini-Origin score when they host the Brisbane
Broncos in the NRL’s 2nd semi-final at Aussie Stadium.” The Age,
meanwhile, picked up the interstate rivalry theme on its front page:
“SWANS – large, stately swimming birds, says the Macquarie
Dictionary – gathered at Maroubra Beach yesterday before
flying south, destination MCG.”

More Latham in TheCourier-Mail which runs with the story of how the equivalent of about 1,000 Olympic-sized
swimming pools of water supplied to south-east Queensland each week is
lost, used for firefighting or simply
stolen
. For better or worse, here comes the building to replace Magic Mountain on
Glenelg’s foreshore, says The Adelaide Advertiser.
With three 110m waterslides encircling the building, it’s already been
branded as “ugly.” Redevelopment in Canberra too, where cultural icon, Electric Shadows Cinemas, will significantly
expand at new premises in the heart of the city next year, says The Canberra Times.

In WA, there are increasing rumblings from within the Labor Party over Geoff Gallop’s no-uranium mining policy, reports The West. And for the Northern Territory News, a weather story leads, with the Territory enduring its hottest and driest year on record.

Peter Fray

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