The Christmas invites are coming, and one “coveted fling” is the annual Parker public relations party in Canberra, The Australian’sStrewth column records today. “The invitations went out yesterday, together with badges to wear on the night saying: ‘I Survived the Mark Latham Diaries’.”

Indeed. Founder Andrew Parker survived a bit more than that from Iron Mark, as the former Labor leader was convinced that he was me.

Way back in September 2002 we ran a piece headed ‘Iron Mark is following in the footsteps of the Doc, not Whitlam’ after Latham went Parker in the House.

In the wake of one of my Hillary Bray items, Latham made a personal explanation in the House where he talked about “Andrew Parker’s column in something called crikey.com.” Parker contacted Latham with this email:

Dear Mark

I left a message with your office and thought I would email you with some comments following me being named as the author of some/part or all of the crikey.com web site.

I am not sure what I have done to deserve it, but your comment is absolutely wrong, Mark.

In fact, it is damaging to me as a business person who deals in the world of government, politics and media. What’s worse, it is cheap shot that wasn’t worth mentioning. Defend yourself sure, but why bring me into this issue when you know – given there is not a sliver of evidence – that I have nothing to do with this web site. Why repeat unsubstantiated gossip?

Maybe it was just a throw away line – but Mark it does me considerable damage and is plainly untrue. I am not and never have been Hilary (sic) Bray or Crikey. I run a business of 23 people – ALP and Libs – and don’t have a spare second, let alone the time to write a web page each day.

Hopefully you will consider this and correct the record. It would certainly be appreciated.

Regards, Andrew.

This is how Latham responded:

G’day Andrew, your over-reaction gives you away. I do have evidence from one of your co-authors but naturally, he wishes to remain anonymous. I’m sure you’ll understand. You’ve had a pretty good run with this caper. Don’t be too precious. From your email you’d think I’d just outed you as the Boston Strangler. Give my best to all the other Wets online and for f**k’s sake, how about winning a few debates inside the Government, not just through Crikey.

“(Iron) Mark.”

Anonymous sources? Aren’t they frowned upon in the Diaries? Despite calls from Crikey, no correction to the bagging under privilege was ever made. A former senior Labor staffer, however, says the episode explains why I’ve survived The Latham Diaries. Iron Mark got the wrong man. (Calling me a NSW wet! Jesus!)

Latham Diaries style disclosure: Christian Kerr once had a massive chunder over the leafy streets of Yarralumla after way too much fantastic food and grog at a Parker & Partners Christmas bash.

Peter Fray

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