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Federal

Aug 13, 2010

Latham head clown in this election circus

Daily Media Wrap: It's a fairly plain bowl of muesli in this morning's media coverage, with Mark Latham adding the prerequisite nuts to yesterday's campaign trail mix and a dollop of tax policy to taste.

It’s a fairly plain bowl of muesli in this morning’s media coverage, with Mark Latham adding the prerequisite nuts to yesterday’s campaign trail mix and a dollop of tax policy to taste.

If you haven’t watched the excruciating footage of Sky News covering Mark Latham the journo covering Tony Abbott, may I suggest you go watch it immediately, even if it’s eight minutes of your life you’ll never get back.

Latham seems unaware of normal journalistic practice. “As he waited to confront Tony Abbott, Mark Latham said someone told him journalism was 90 per cent waiting and 10 per cent confrontation,” writes Sid Maher in The Oz, “The figures don’t seem to be adding up for the former Labor leader.”

He’s head clown in this election circus. “Welcome to Day 6 of Sideshow Mark Latham’s hijacking of the election campaign, previously dominated by Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott and, of course, Kevin Rudd,” writes Nick Tabakoff, “Yesterday, Sideshow Mark seemed intent on showing he was an equal opportunity pest to both parties.”

But the bizarre Abbott and Latham showdown was a bit of a let down, their conversation just petered off. “This seemed a pity — consensus across the media camp was that a fellow like Abbott might be tempted to sit Latham on his behind in any test of masculinity, even if Latham had once broken a hapless taxi driver’s arm,” writes Tony Wright in The Age.

Latham wasn’t quite as tough as normal. According to a ‘body language expert’, “Mark Latham was less aggressive in confronting Tony Abbott than he was with Julia Gillard, and even seemed intimidated himself,” reports Drew Warne-Smith.

As Marieke Hardy wrote at The Drum earlier this week, there isn’t much difference between the two: “Tony Abbott is mad. Madder than Mark Latham at a mad convention hosted by Charles Manson featuring a special guest musical performance by G G Allin. If you’re so determined to buy the glossy facade currently handcrafted by a meticulous team of Liberal powerbrokers, then more fool you.”

Samantha Maiden agreed in The Oz: “The curious thing about the Opposition Leader’s disciplined campaign is that not so long ago, Latham and Abbott were seen as peas in a pod.”

Abbott’s had a mixed week and despite Rooty Hill, Gillard’s campaign is back on track. But it’s still anyone’s game, argues Michelle Grattan in The Age:

“A week out, all the options seem open: a Gillard win, an Abbott victory, a hung Parliament. The betting is currently favouring Labor. Many people are still to make up their mind; some will wait even until they hover with pencil in hand.”

Some are still talking up the vibe at Rooty Hill and the fact that it was a bad omen for the PM. “The worry for Gillard and Labor is the amount of cynicism displayed by the audience and the fact the Prime Minister wasn’t able to talk them around,” writes Dennis Atkins inThe Courier-Mail.

Despite all the sideshow antics, the economy is still the most crucial campaign topic and the Coalition’s new tax policy, released earlier this week, is getting mixed reviews.

Neither side is promising much, but it’s a start for Peter Martin at The Age: “For the moment, the Coalition looks more ready to embrace the rest of Henry than does Labor. We have a tax debate. Sort of.”

“The Opposition tax policy is thin, but not all bad,” says Michelle Grattan in The Age, who was particularly irritated by one aspect of the policy — voters getting a tax receipt showing exactly where all their tax payments are going. “Let’s face it: the receipt is a gimmick, just as Julia Gillard’s climate change Citizens’ Assembly is. It’s just like an advertisement to grab attention — harmless enough so long as people see through it,” writes Grattan.

Eric Johnston and Peter Martin were similarly belittling of the plan: “We won’t get extra tax cuts in the first term of a Coalition government but we will get ”thank-you notes”.”

George Megalogenis offers up his take on the Coalition tax policy: “The brutal truth is that the Coalition isn’t ready to return to government, while Labor has yet to lose its incumbency training wheels. Tony Abbott has run a terrific insurgency campaign, but he has yet to seek a positive mandate.”

Kevin Rudd’s brother Greg Rudd popped up at The Oz, penning an article about his deep disillusion with Australian politics:

“The words each party used to convince the faithful that it was the only true party were so similar between the Liberals, Labor and the Nationals, it was scary. Even the hatred they felt towards each other was similar, grounded in history, ignorance and discrimination.”

It’s been hatred both between the parties and within the parties that has dominated this campaign.

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25 comments

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25 thoughts on “Latham head clown in this election circus

  1. Robertson

    Wonder if he will tip on Gillard on Sunday with the Craig Emerson affair reported in the Womens Weekly?

    And then let fly at Abbott over the Pauline Hanson stuff

    should make riverting viewing

  2. David Sanderson

    The most peculiar thing about this morning election news is the minimal coverage of the Morgan poll. This poll has labor streaking ahead 57.5-42.5. Sure, it may be a rogue, an outlier, or an infernal product from the witches in Macbeth but it does nevertheless indicate that Labor is continuing to gain ground.

    It should be big news, why is it being ignored?

  3. zut alors

    David S,

    Why, indeed. Nothing short of a mystery.

    On Latham: who thought any being could come close to the pure embarrassment engendered in Australians by the Nine Network’s Sam Newman? I’m not claiming Latham is as grotesque as Newman but he appears destined for the same league. It says everything about the Nine Network that these two imbeciles have been invited onto their payroll. To call Newman and Latham ‘halfwits’ is too generous.

  4. Tomboy

    David Sanderson,

    Yeah – agree completely. Heard it on the 5:30 news on 2UE this morning, then nothing. Can’t even find reference to it on the web now, except on Crikey!

  5. zut alors

    Tomboy,

    There was a discussion on the poll on ABC2 News Breakfast but, apparently, silence elsewhere.

  6. Michael

    What a wonderfully bizarre lot you journalists are.
    The way you all go “girlie” at Latham who is probably the most refreshing interviewer we have seen since Norman Gunstan . It’s embarrassing for a profession (Gfawww!!) that purports to occupy the 4th Estate – whatever that means.

    Latham is interesting
    Latham is funny
    Latham is knowledgeable
    Latham has a sense of humor
    Latham means ratings
    Latham is intense

    Something that all of you can only dream about.

  7. apeman

    There’s a vid of the poll story on the national times website, but very strange regarding its absence elsewhere. sure it may be wrong, but it tells a story, especially about growing support for the ALP in Qld after the Rudd/Gillard treaty.

    Maybe it just doesn’t fit the narrative (whatever that may be this morning).

    Good to see Latham using his powers for good instead of evil, reminding the wingnuts of what Abbott did to Hanson. Sneaky. Now lets hope he has sense enough not to stuff up the ALP launch. A forlorn hope I suppose, he seems to be out of control and his Channel 9 paymasters are loving it.

  8. David Sanderson

    The NewRadio website has a good discussion with a Morgan rep.

  9. Troy C

    It should be big news, why is it being ignored?

    For those with long memories, rewind to 2001. A Morgan poll, at a similar stage of the election campaign, found roughly the same result (about 57-43 Labor’s way). I remember it well. It freaked me out because I’d placed a sizeable bet on Howard winning that one. As all know, Howard won that election, the poll was rogue, and I’ve taken Morgan polls with a grain of salt ever since.

  10. Troy C

    reminding the wingnuts of what Abbott did to Hanson. Sneaky.

    You’re not pro-Hanson, are you?