As we look into the political future, the biggest story of The Latham Diaries
is not what it says about Mark Latham, although this is what so many
members of the media establishment and the ALP are focusing on as they
attempt to exact some of their own revenge.

For instance, Senator Steve Hutchins was widely featured on television
bulletins snarling that Latham was “a grub.” That is probably because
Hutchins features in the index 17 times and is accurately portrayed as
one of the underwhelming union-backed factional hacks who have been
dumped on the ALP in Canberra. The corrosion of this system is best
demonstrated by the fact that this bloke was somehow placed above Senator
John Faulkiner on Labor’s NSW senate ticket in 2004.


The defamation laws, the need to contain the book to 400 pages and a
desire to protect some people means that Latham has probably only fired
less than half of his ammunition in The Latham Diaries.

For instance, the journalist who passed him the joint was not named. We
can reveal that it was someone from the ABC youth network Triple J, but
won’t be naming names at this point. It is ironic that Latham was
talking about dope smoking on Triple J yesterday, when he chose to drop
Lindsay Tanner right in it as a heavy dope smoker at university. Check out The Age’s coverage here.

This was an example of Latham meting out some more punishment to Tanner after he appeared on Insiders last Sunday saying the Australian people got it right at the last election backing John Howard. It’s all a big game of revenge.

And why has “Little Billy” Shorten copped such a pounding from Latham
in his interviews over the past week? Perhaps it was his comment at the
time of the Lagan book that “Mark Latham displays all the attributes of
a dog, except loyalty.”

The real story of The Latham Diaries will be its impact on
relationships, both public and private. There was press gallery talk yesterday that one marriage
has already broken down as a result of it, but that may just be an attempt to further demonise Latham by the Canberra Club.

Laurie Oakes and various others are playing down the impact but how can national secretary
Tim Gartrell possibly work with all the factional hacks and union
leaders on the ALP national executive when Latham reveals he described all of them as “a*seholes”?

How can ACTU Secretary Greg Combet work with President Sharon Burrow
when Combet’s private criticisms have been placed on the public record?
How can Paul Kelly stay at News Ltd after being revealed as a heavy
critic of his bosses? How can Harold Mitchell win another ALP media
buying contract when Gartrell’s private condemnation is now public? How
can Latham’s best mate Joel Fitzgibbon possibly retain his preselection
given so many of his private conversations have been passed to Latham
and now appear in public?

This list goes on and on, yet the Canberra Club is not addressing it,
preferring instead to rant and rave about how much Latham has damaged
his own credibility.

Peter Fray

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