March 19, 2004


Mark Latham has endured an entire day scoping out trees with charismatic Green senator Bob Brown. According to The Australianís Matt Price, it sounds like the Labor leader barely avoided falling asleep:

Mark Latham and Bob Brown, the oddest of political couples, emerged from the impressive "cave tree" - a kingsize eucalypt towering 70m above the ground.

Brown, the high priest of environmentalism, was speaking in hushed tones, patting the ancient bark and tutoring the greenhorn Labor leader about ecology, botany and Aboriginal mythology ...

Not that Latham seemed to notice. "It's an old tree that's been hollowed out," he noted when asked if he had been moved. "A good experience."

Latham maintained this low-key, almost underwhelmed air for most of the day. Brown enthused over the pristine stillness of the Styx River, and the pair stood on a log and cupped their hands to sip water like a couple of boy scouts.

"Fresh water, can't beat it," was Latham's terse verdict.

On to a section of recently cleared old-growth forest, full of giant stumps, fallen towers and bulldozer tracks. While Brown mourned, Latham was moved to concede: "There's a bit of debris here."

Lathamís enthusiasm convinced Brown to endorse him as the next Prime Minister.

Posted by Tim Blair at March 19, 2004 01:36 AM

"cupped their hands to sip water like a couple of boy scouts"

I resent that analogy. Any boy scout worth his salt knows to NEVER drink directly from a stream or open water source without first purifying it. It would serve them right if they both came down with hiker's revenge.

Actually....that would be kind of funny.....

Posted by: Vicki at March 19, 2004 at 02:58 AM

Who will get infected, and with what? Giardia or Cryptosporidium? Bets anyone?

Posted by: Bashir Gemayel at March 19, 2004 at 04:09 AM

American Indians made canoes out of hollowed-out eucalyptus trees, using a primitive awl and maize or something. This accounted for a large proportion of hollowed out trees. Few remained standing. If yours is still standing, it's probably a kangaroo nest.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at March 19, 2004 at 05:15 AM

And then Latham went and backed clear-fell logging . . . . which goes to show he knows he doesn't need to kiss Bob Brown's arse to get Green preferences ahead of the Liberals.

As much as I don't like Latham, it's good to see Bob Brown get shafted.

Posted by: steve at March 19, 2004 at 07:06 AM

News footage reveals that ol' Marky never turned his back on Brownie. Can't be that stupid!

Posted by: Kate at March 19, 2004 at 07:22 AM

Latham didn't punch Brown in the throat or hold his head under water in an attempt to drown him. He is maturing politically!

Posted by: Aamos at March 19, 2004 at 07:30 AM

I feel rather bad for Latham, there.

Posted by: Sortelli at March 19, 2004 at 08:32 AM

Now I know that Bob Brown is living in La La Land. What on earth did he expect from Mark Latham? The Labor party in Tasmania supports logging and has a lot to lose and nothing to gain by changing its stance.

Mark Latham himself is from Green Valley which, despite the name, is not a place where you see a lot of old growth forests. Mark might even be asking himself how people get to live in such a sheltered place as Tasmania and who is footing the bill for it all?

Thank our forefathers for implementing proportional representation in the Senate. What a source of humour it is today! The Dems, The Greens.... we're all pissing ourselves laughing.

Posted by: Allan at March 19, 2004 at 09:02 AM

"As much as I don't like Latham, it's good to see Bob Brown get shafted."

That happens just about every night doesn't it?
(not that there's anything wrong with that of course)

Posted by: JB at March 19, 2004 at 10:25 AM

Talk about the undead! Mark Latham sounds like he was walking through the Valley of Death there, just like a zombie. Was he hallucinating or had vampire Brown bitten him when they were alone in the forest. He probably got off lightly.

Posted by: Freddyboy at March 19, 2004 at 10:56 AM

Bashir - with Brown hanging around its more likely to be the bugs from feacal matter (the word slips my mind at the moment.)

Posted by: Razor at March 19, 2004 at 11:39 AM

Won't it be great to see John Howard's bottom lip quivering just like Fraser's did in '83. That fine day is coming.

Posted by: Miranda Divide at March 19, 2004 at 11:55 AM

Er, Ron -- eucalyptus trees are not native to the Americas. Trees of that species were not planted here until long after the native Americans had quit making canoes from tree trunks for general use.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at March 19, 2004 at 12:34 PM