You wouldn’t know it, but Mark Latham was actually at the Melbourne Writers Festival to talk about whether politicians can make good journalistic commentators. He got to that, briefly, as the session drew to a close.

“The key thing when you recruit a politician to write is to get them to be independent,” Latham said.”The good thing about the Latham Diaries was that it burnt my ties. You got my real, independent opinion. I wasn’t waiting to be the next ambassador to Spain or whatever, they were my genuine views.

“The reason for ex-politicians to go into writing is that it can serve their constituency. They’re not someone in the press gallery, who wouldn’t know the public if it fell over them. They’ve actually been out there. There must be a role for people like that, who’ve left public life, to write.”

If you want the blow-by-blow, Crikey was live-blogging the session here.

Peter Fray

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