Mark Latham and the ALP

Topic: The Real World 14 years, 10 months ago

Mark Latham and the Australia Labor Party — which is more sad?

Earlier tonight I watched Andrew Denton’s interview of Mark Latham on Enough Rope (ABC TV), having missed its unexpected airing last week. For those not familar with the situation here, today marks the release of Latham’s book The Latham Diaries in which he offers a scathing critique of the ALP, the people involved and politics in general.

What stuck in mind most about that interview was how Denton repeatedly commented how “profoundly sad” it seemed that after having “spent so much time and energy and invested so much of [his] heart into attempting to correct society’s ills”, Latham so easily turned around and quit politics altogether. Asked for an explanation, Latham simply brushes it off as if it was inconsequential! Personally, I found this bewildering — and yes, I found it sad too. For someone who has repeatedly mentioned how important it is to be frank and honest, and how the importance of community politics is regrettably fading and has presumably worked for years under that belief, the ALP (or Australian politics in general) must have been a pretty frustrating place to cause such rapid disillusionment!

This brings me to the second thing that stuck in my mind about that interview. From what I’ve heard so far, the allegations raised in Diaries are likely to do significant damage to the ALP. Yet Latham can offer no solutions. I think those who feel it was irresponsible for Latham to have published such devastating memoirs may have a point… unless of course the idea is that the ALP is so far gone it’s beyond help and not worth saving?

Well let’s see, the ALP is in damage control already, with Kim Beazley even dragging his daughters out to speak in his defence (how would they know what goes on behind the scenes in Canberra?). On the other hand there appears to be support for Latham’s painting of Beazley as a heartless man. It sure looks like a mess to be, and a most unelectable mess at that. As that only oppositon party with a remote chance at being elected, the self-destruction of the ALP really would be a sad occasion — sad that the future looks bleak, but also sad that this garbage was the only hope we had.

Oh now this reminds me of the Democrats imploding… well there’s something to be sad about!

Behind the Scenes #1 — Guessing Game It’s an iPod nano Phoreal!

4 Comments Add your own

  • . Stephen Mok  |  14 years, 10 months ago

    Hah… just read something else. According to this SMH article:

    Mr Latham blames the alliance [with the US] for dragging Australia into unnecessary conflicts, including Vietnam and Iraq, and prefers the foreign policy model New Zealand has adopted.

    Oh how I’d prefer Latham as PM, then!

  • . Lisa  |  14 years, 10 months ago

    I am saddened too – Denton was right on target. We (well I) once thought that Latham was a man who was talented, proactive and innovative. Right now he’s just being reactive and by the sounds will be innactive in the future.

    Another thing that’s a bit sad is to see how much of a self-centred windbag Beazley is in his diaries

  • . nash  |  14 years, 10 months ago

    You know what I am Smok… the implosion of the ALP is not something i am particularly lamenting.

    Having said that, it is a sad state of affairs, I agree. There has been a serious failure of the opposition in this country and Latham is not helping. Party unity at the commonwealth level is obviously not as strong as it is on the state level, where they all seem to fold at the nearest sign of conflict. At the moment it seems, that the chances of the ALP winning government are about as good as there being a train station at the end of franklin road :)

  • . Stephen Mok  |  14 years, 10 months ago

    nash: Well constrution on the North-West Rail Link is meant to start in 2012 and be finished by 2017 (source: DIPNR)… do you reackon Labor will be electable again by then? ;)

    Lisa: Thanks for you comment on my blog. I would’ve left this comment at yours, but whatever I do I can’t get past your captcha.

    I think you’re right, Latham’s getting too much attention at the moment, but that will die down soon enough.

    It’s now clear that by taking such an extreme position (lashing out at everyone), all Latham has done is ensure his opinion is not going to be taken seriously. It might mean any constructive change he could have brought about within the ALP now may not occur. Shame.

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