If you thought “quality box for Ross” was the crudest thing in the The Latham Diaries, think again. This anecdote on page 113 is surely the most extraordinary comment that any politician has ever retailed publicly. No other outlet has been game to go near it so far, so if Iron Mark thinks we’re a “sh*t sheet” we’d better pass it on to the Crikey army:

Tuesday, 31 August, 1999

But they are not all bad. Give me Senator Rosemary Crowley any day of the week. What a trooper. She told me a story about the American writer Dorothy Parker, who was asked to use the word ‘horticulture’ in a sentence, and replied: ‘You can lead a horticulture but you can’t make her think’. Years ago, Joel’s dad and predecessor in Hunter, Eric Fitzgibbon, told me the story of Rose visiting a colleague’s electorate and getting into a discussion with some of the locals about their cars. She floored them by pointing out, ‘Listen, you blokes, I have had more rubber up my c*nt than you’ve got on those tyres’. Rose for PM.

Poor Rosemary Crowley. There are many other anecdotes which fall more into the humour rather than shock crudity category. This one about Craig Knowles’s dad Stan on pages 131-2 is a beauty:

Tuesday, 6 April 2000

John Kerin, p*ssed and bitter, gives me a good old bagging while sitting next to Joel at the farewell dinner for Gary Gray at the National Press Club.

But, as Joel reminds me, he’s not all p*ss and wind. He also has a biting wit. I still credit Kerin with the best line I have heard in politics. In the late 1980s, Stan Knowles, a State Labor MP in our area, was caught stealing three drill bits from the Casula K-Mart. Stan has still got his first dollar, so it was not that surprising. Politically, however, it was scandalous: he had to leave Parliament (handing over to his son Craig) and was then convicted of theft. When he heard about it, Kerin said, ‘Well, we shouldn’t be too hard on Stan, at least it shows he’s not a two-bit thief’.

Boom, boom. Give the man a little bit of credit. There are laughs aplenty amidst all the vitriol and commentary.

Peter Fray

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