July 02, 2004


"Where is Mark Latham?" asks the SMH’s Louise Dodson. "And why has he become so media shy?" Well, here’s one possible reason:

The Labor Party is bracing for fresh claims of physical violence by Mark Latham, potentially delivering John Howard a big incentive to call a snap election for August.

Former friends and political rivals have alleged Mr Latham assaulted an older man in the lead-up to a state by-election for the seat of Liverpool in March 1989.

Mr Latham was alleged to have punched the man to the ground after he walked into the Labor campaign office and made a remark that the future Opposition leader objected to.

Latham has been dodging serious coverage for weeks, and seems determined to keep doing so. Declining involvement in this weekend’s Sunday program, Latham’s unbelievably clumsy ex-ABC advisor Vivienne Schenker said: "We don't want anything in depth before the election." So a small-target strategy -- maybe like that adopted by the old bloke in Liverpool 15 years ago -- is now official.

The small-target plan ties neatly into this:

Labor candidates' views on important economic and social issues are significantly to the left of what those who voted for them thought, according to research that says Labor risks a "hollowing out" of its support base.

Coalition candidates were much more likely to hold views similar to their supporters, compared with Labor candidates and voters.

So, the Coalition. A year or so ago I wrote that if John Howard threw $50 notes to people in the street, he’d be attacked in the press for littering. Claim proved:

Rather than welcoming the government's payments to families, the media and the ALP have had a carefree, fun-filled week, playing with the Howard Government's evil Baby Bonuses. The consensus of the ALP, and the educated middle class in general, is that ignorant poor families just can't be trusted with $600 let alone $3000. Media reports indicate that the family payment is wreaking havoc: causing teenage pregnancy, child abuse, gambling addiction, alcoholism and violence in indigenous communities, and even a new stolen generation.

Visit Gnu Hunter for all the links.

Posted by Tim Blair at July 2, 2004 07:01 AM

Wondering if Latham is known for having a hot temper when in Parliament? Does he blow up a lot during debates, etc.?

Howard is being treated just like Bush. Damned if you do (provide payments) and damned if you don't. I don't understand the loathing that seems to be fueling the illogical attacks.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at July 2, 2004 at 07:20 AM

"Media reports indicate that the family payment is wreaking havoc: causing teenage pregnancy, child abuse, gambling addiction, alcoholism and violence in indigenous communities, and even a new stolen generation"

Funny, that's what the conservatives have been saying in the US for forty years

Posted by: Ken Summers at July 2, 2004 at 07:32 AM

Does he blow up a lot during debates, etc.?

Is the Pope an old Polish geezer?

Posted by: Quentin George at July 2, 2004 at 08:16 AM

Great potential for Liberal ads: people with injuries such as broken arms and collar bones - trust labor with your health?

Posted by: Matthew at July 2, 2004 at 08:46 AM

It's probably about time someone who knows how to fight got up Latham's nose.

Posted by: Moby at July 2, 2004 at 10:09 AM

Those criticisms of the baby bonus are dead right. I can't understand why the Howard Government considered doing it with the Sole Parents Benefit in place - the greatest creator of poverty ever initiated.

Wayne Swan, the ALP's spokesman on families wants it to be made in progressive payments. This would be even worse. There would be a huge incentive for a repeat effort if say a $115 per pension payment was going to disappear after 12 months.

But we should be comforted by the social workers who say that girls don't deliberately get pregnant to get the money.

The pigs are primed and ready for takeoff.

Posted by: amortiser at July 2, 2004 at 10:13 AM

And don't forget those irresponsible expectant mums profiled on the 7.30 Report who are rescheduling caesars to qualify for the bonus. All Howard's fault, of course. Look out for a class-action against Howard by less-than-perfect births about, oh, twelve years from now.

Posted by: cuckoo at July 2, 2004 at 10:33 AM

Does he blow up a lot during debates, etc.?

Does Dolly Parton sleep on her back ?

Posted by: Robert Blair at July 2, 2004 at 10:39 AM

Violence in Labor campaign offices during a by-election? I thought it was practically compulsory.

In Victoria, the Labor Government Police Minister's wife has been accused of punching a Labor Party member and threatening to bomb the house of another.

Yes, the Police Minister's wife.

Posted by: ilibcc at July 2, 2004 at 11:21 AM

That's just insensitive to the Labor Party's culture. Applying Western standards of moral decency to Labor simply isn't justified. Don't you know that all party officials' behaviour must be considered equally appropriate? Making bomb threats against political opponents is perfectly fine in their cultural frame of reference.


Posted by: PW at July 2, 2004 at 11:28 AM

I look foward to Latho conscripting Barto in a joint campaign to make up for the shortfalls in Labor's budgetary projections:

"We'll roll some oldies and bagladies", say Labor/Dem Leaders.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at July 2, 2004 at 11:30 AM

Isn't Vivienne Schenker ex-SBS not ex-ABC?

Posted by: Mike Hunt at July 2, 2004 at 11:49 AM

Don't misunderestimate Latham. He dangerous - still a big threat.

Posted by: l'il nephew at July 2, 2004 at 11:53 AM

Timbo how can anyone who holds 'community forums' have a small target strategy.
Perhaps you should go back and read what Johnnee really did in 1996 so you know what one is.

When you chuck money at people such as the $600 for a child and then can't reclaim it when they have got it twice because the legislation was too rushed and you stuffed it up then I agree Timbo it is incredible people should have the audacity to criticize such a well thought out public policy.

Posted by: Homer Paxton at July 2, 2004 at 12:07 PM

For entertainment purposes, we need Governor Ahnuld to pay a visit to our parliament.
Asta la vista, Markie.....

Posted by: Johnny Wishbone at July 2, 2004 at 12:07 PM


She's a former Radio National morning presenter.

Posted by: tim at July 2, 2004 at 12:07 PM

The Opposition Leader, shown here at one of his, er, 'community forums'.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at July 2, 2004 at 12:25 PM

As a former boxer, I'd like to see Mark go a few rounds with Tony Abbott. Not only is Abbott clearly his intellectual superior, but he was also an amateur boxer at Oxford. My money would be on Tony. That's the difference between Libs and Labour: gentlemean boxers as opposed to gutter brawlers.

Posted by: freddyboy at July 2, 2004 at 02:04 PM

Actually I'd also like to see a return round with the cabbie: he'd probably thrash Mark this time.

Posted by: freddyboy at July 2, 2004 at 02:06 PM

how could Latham ever make himself a 'small target'? he's got a head like a a supersized potatoe!

Posted by: roscoe.p.coltrane at July 2, 2004 at 02:28 PM

Media reports indicate that the family payment is wreaking havoc...

Media reports on ABC PM Radio last night had the Salvation Army claiming demand on its charity services are suddenly down 60%....

Viv Shaker was also an early 2JJJ presenter. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Posted by: jafa at July 2, 2004 at 03:29 PM

Homer Paxton - got get a haircut and a real job.


Posted by: Mike Munroe at July 2, 2004 at 03:30 PM

If the allegations are true (but if so, why have the claims only come out so recently?), Mark would be more suited to the Californian legislature.

Posted by: Andjam at July 2, 2004 at 09:32 PM

I assume the same media types who have orgasmed over Moore's hackjob will be jumping for joy about the "airing" of these allegations...?

Posted by: Quentin George at July 2, 2004 at 10:38 PM

It was not violence. Labor people are never violent or otherwise nasty.

It was an altercation.

Posted by: ilibcc at July 2, 2004 at 11:30 PM

Labor have a captive audience of fuckwits willing to fence hop over the family payments and all the so called ills it creates.

I notice under Labor, Wayne Swann claimed that government payments to pregnant minors and assistance in housing to runnaway kids never increaed the instance of either. Ins't it amazing that he now claims that the Baby Bonus is making teens fall pregnant???

And as for community forums, what a fucking joke you tool.
How does a community forum amongst Labor members inform the wider community on any policies Latham might have. We all know Latham's policies come from Dick Morris and Bill Clinton. Which should mean that once someone has read Clintons memoirs to Latham we should see an avalanch of policies...

Latham is just a big mouthed thug, who gets pissed and breaks the arms of taxi drivers and I have no doubt we will hear more from his ex-wife over their marital problems. For a man who claims to have kids in mind he didn't mind stepping over his family to get to where he is...

Latham claims he has nothing to hide prior to the upcoming profile on him. Well he's kinda right. He certainly has no policies to hide...

Posted by: scott at July 3, 2004 at 12:57 AM

"Where is Mark Latham?" asks the SMH’s Louise Dodson. "And why has he become so media shy?"

Has he adopted Kerry's phantom candidacy strategy? It seems to be working, sadly enough.

Posted by: c at July 3, 2004 at 01:28 AM

Does anyone else remember that CNNNN comedy programme that used to be on the ABC? During one episode the boys were giving it to the government over its alleged mistreatment of asylum seekers.

One of them went to Parliament House and stood at the entrance with an inflatable club. Joke was that departing MPs were asked if they'd care to symbolically bash a refugee by hitting the CNNNN 'reporter'. Most pols were too taken aback and confused to know how to react.

Then out walked Mark Latham, too dimwitted and steroidish to get the joke - which was on the government. He grabbed the club and smacked the surprised comic around the ear. Fucking idiot!, the King of the Kids spat.

When he realised - or, more likely, was told - it was an anti-howard parody, he came back and was all smiles.

Scary and dangerous man that.

PS: The ABC will resurrect that footage in the context of assessing Latham's temperament.


Posted by: CurrencyLad at July 3, 2004 at 01:29 AM


I saw that thing. I interpreted it at the time as him turning the table on the stunt-masters.

A Election Chaser (this was before CNNNN) person wore a crash helmet the next time they decided to meet him, right?

Posted by: Andjam at July 3, 2004 at 04:55 AM

The next occasion the Election Chaser foil met Latham was the time the oldie-basher was all smiles - he'd been told who the CNNNN blokes actually were. On the night in question, however,
Latham's reaction was more instinctive than mindful and was definitely humourless and aggressive.

This is a pattern with him, apparently. He behaves violently, then spins (and laughs) it off later in the telling.

Typical pub drunk really. Totally bonkers.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at July 3, 2004 at 10:01 AM