October 03, 2004


If we hadn’t liberated Iraq, terrorists wouldn’t be quite so intent on hurting us. Well, according to the Latham doctrine, anyway. The terrorists themselves seem to have a longer list of grievances, some of them pre-emptive:

"We should not wait until US, British, French, Jewish, South Korean, Hungarian or Polish forces enter Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen and Algeria before we resist," said the voice on the audio tape aired by Al Jazeera television.

"Let us start resisting now. The interests of America, Britain, Australia, France, Poland, Norway, South Korea and Japan are spread everywhere.

"They all took part in the invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq or Chechnya or enabled Israel to survive."

There you have it, Mark. It’ll make us safer if we stop “enabling Israel to survive”. Any room for that in Labor policy? And the terrorists won’t be happy with your stance on Afghanistan, either:

MARK LATHAM: We supported the deployment of Australia's military forces to the immediate conflict in Afghanistan and the wider war against terrorism. A clear-cut attack had occurred on the United States and a clear location was established for the source of that attack. Should another attack produce an identifiable source, we would be prepared to support similar action. That is a rock solid Labor commitment.

But ... making us unsafe! In other Latham developments, remember this observation from Greg Sheridan, arising from Latham’s hopelessly weak handling of Ivan Molloy?

The response of the media to Molloy's political obscenity of accusing Australian politicians of moral responsibility for terrorist murder has been instructive. The ABC and The Sydney Morning Herald have virtually ignored the story, whereas if a Howard government candidate had committed equal obscenities on the other side they would be foaming with indignation.

In today’s Age, Phillip Hudson positively admires Latham’s dodging -- although actual credit should go to the press that enables it:

After an unsteady start, he is running the campaign on his own terms. Pesky questions about an ALP candidate who agrees the Liberals are to blame for the Bali bombing are dismissed in a way that John Howard could never get away with.

And why would that be, Phillip?

(Via Evil Pundit)

Posted by Tim Blair at October 3, 2004 03:44 PM

Where are Al-Jazeera's transmitters and studios located, and why doesn't the US take them out with an air-strike? (Clinton was ready enough to bomb a Belgrade TV studio which never did the US any harm?)

Posted by: Sue at October 3, 2004 at 06:17 PM

Tim, Bit askew of the topic but near enough I hope. Are there any other people following both US and Australian elections who dislike Howard but also prefer Bush? In both cases quite intensely.

Posted by: Jason G at October 3, 2004 at 06:27 PM

latham supports the use of force if, on balance, it would make us safer.

boy, that's very difficult to understand.

Posted by: snuh at October 3, 2004 at 06:42 PM

For the life of me,I cannot understand this irrational'dislike of Mr Howard. He is a decent principled man who I do not believe to be a liar.
It reminds one of the schoolyard bully who lies so often himself, sees a situation, and assumes every one would respond in the untruthful way he would.
Mr Howard a loyal husband and father who has overseen the salvation of this country with his treasurer Mr Peter Costello from the burdon of debt inflicted on us by his forerunners in the Labor Party- wacko - how dare the Libs be so succsessful, lets vote labor back and cut off our noses to spite our collective face. When things are stable, people have jobs and more able to purchase their own home-can't have that chum- a bit of destabilisation to show who is master- Right on Mark!!!!!!!! Punish those who dare to contribute to their childrens education- biff, lets bring them down a a few rungs of Marks ladder of opportunity.
Got Private health care- smack- we'll make those silly sods wait for a bed in the private hospital whilst we fill up beds in Private hospitals with the ALP faithful and Marks mum who must be just about 75- take that you nasty little Lberals- I hate you- see- so there -smash

Posted by: Rose at October 3, 2004 at 06:52 PM
If we hadn’t liberated Iraq, terrorists wouldn’t be quite so intent on hurting us.
Yes, that's right, and if only we'd get our women all burkaed up and defer to the Imams for our laws, they wouldn't hate us anymore, either! Posted by: Aaron at October 3, 2004 at 07:06 PM

I used to be a socialist - I left Oz for Canada in disgust after the sacking of the Whitlam gov't. Now I see what 30 years of smug, hypocritical, euro-liberal orthodoxy can do to a place. I am ready now to vote for Quebec independence simply because Canada no longer deserves to continue as a sovereign nation.

Australia has resisted this loathesome euro-orthodoxy longer than any other democratic country (apart from the US).

Keep it up! Send Latham packing!

PS: oddly enough, I would still vote for Bracksy

Posted by: jlchydro at October 3, 2004 at 07:32 PM

Latham's problem is that he's all nuanced. He thinks that reality is complicated and the solution to terrorism doesn't fit into a sound bite. Idiot.

Posted by: Alan Green at October 3, 2004 at 07:33 PM

G'day Tim, I just heard you on radio up here in Brisbane. The announcer (Bruno Bouchet I think...?) said that Margo Kingston ran away from an interview on the program after she heard you were on it!

What's that now....4 times?!

You sounded great mate!


Posted by: Ryan at October 3, 2004 at 07:45 PM

"For the life of me,I cannot understand this irrational'dislike of Mr Howard. "

It's not always irrational, although I agree that some of the stuff put around borders on the crazy and resembles the lunatic fringe anti Bushies. Personally I regard Kerry as an acrobatic chameleon and Bush as a principled guy who makes tough decisions - and sticks to them. Unfortunately my view of Mr Howard is that he is an opportunistic populist whose behavior is similar in many ways to Kerry's but not at all like Bush. One guy leads people to what he believes and the other two follow opinion polls. My view and sincerely held.

Posted by: Jason G at October 3, 2004 at 09:53 PM

Well said , I can't understand it either.

Posted by: John P at October 3, 2004 at 10:26 PM

Howards single worst policy was his knee jerk gun ban.

Misdirected punishment the law abiding for Port Arthur, a massacre committed by Martin Bryant, not a gun.

Posted by: Sheriff at October 3, 2004 at 11:22 PM

Re Latham on Iraq : Great Minds Think Alike. Then again, regarding Milat/Molloy, maybe it's just that Fools Seldom Differ.

But at least we now have (Photoshopped) evodence that Kerry really can't find his bum with both hands.

Posted by: Alan E Brain at October 3, 2004 at 11:38 PM

hehehe it looks like the Rock Against Howard Rally was infiltrated. more here gettyimages gallery.

Posted by: Noname at October 4, 2004 at 01:52 AM

Yeah, it looks like the Protest Warriors have made it to Australia!

Posted by: The Real JeffS at October 4, 2004 at 02:09 AM

"Should another attack produce an identifiable source, we would be prepared to support similar action."

This is clasic leftist doctrine: we cant do anything untill after we've been hit. Treating terrosism as a law enforcement issue is part of what lead us to 911.

Canada is a lost cause. Come back to Oz, we need you.

Posted by: Troy at October 4, 2004 at 03:05 AM

We've got Jhengis John Kerry, you have your Mark Latham. Two stuffed shirts and two empty suits!

Posted by: EddieP at October 4, 2004 at 03:12 AM

Sue, Al Jazeera is headquartered out of Qatar. Ironically, that's the same nation where the new CENTCOM Middle East headquarters were moved to after we left Saudi Arabia. Qatar is (nominally) an ally. Sort of tough to bomb them under the circumstances.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at October 4, 2004 at 05:53 AM

still if centacoms there you'd think they could jam them!

Posted by: Giles at October 4, 2004 at 06:10 AM

Jamming A-J would be hypocritical on our part. It would be the moral equivalent of cutting the powerlines to the New York Times. Freedom of speech can't be a one way street.

If you want an example of "one way freedom of speech", look at how the DNC smears Bush and then whinges when Kerry gets negative commercials and books (e.g., the Swifties).

I don't care to go there, thank you very much!

Posted by: The Real JeffS at October 4, 2004 at 07:19 AM

I cringe whenever Latham produces a policy.Rose puts it beautifully,the politics of envy and payoff.My limited interaction with Labor people convinced me they are gangsters.They gather around the doctrine of insider and outsider. That justifies their ripping down of anything or anyone who shows initiative or citizenship.Touble is if the ALP gets in they become the insiders,like a bunch of mafia gangsters.Then watch out for the nations wealth because they are coming to get it.

Posted by: gubbaboy at October 4, 2004 at 08:50 AM

Gee, your arguments must be weak to have to use greg sheridan as source.
There was an excellent letter to the oz this week reminding us of the actual situation in the phillipines in 1983.
That was the year that our great friend marcos had his rival benino aquino murdered at the airport as he stepped off a plane following years of exile.There were numerous rebel groups fighting the filipino army of our friend and ally marcos who of course was a despot ripping off billions from the people.
The moros have always been headhunters and radicals,I have just read a book about an incredible scots australian who escaped from changi and fought with the moros against the japaneses.
When the anmericans arrived,they didn't understand the moros and their women,many american soldiers lost their heads.
Mindanoa and the chain of islands through to sabah are the major problem to us in the region,I would love to hear of a solution to this problem.Like the fighters in Iraq-can we kill them all?

Posted by: marklatham at October 4, 2004 at 11:57 AM

Jason G, Are you being sarcastic? Howard as the populist chasing the polls and Latham as the strong, stick to his guns, "to hell with the polls" type??

I respect your right to your opinion. I hope you'll repect my right to roll around on the floor helpless with laughter!

Posted by: Michael at October 4, 2004 at 12:48 PM

I liked this bit from Terry McCrann

In the most emphatic way, Latham seeks to ditch, not so much the Keating legacy, but the Keating governance.

And he seeks to replace it with a 21st century version of Whitlamism. Government as the universal cure-all - outright and, even overtly, irrational populism - and a return to the structures and processes of old Labor.

You doubt any of this?

Consider his Medicare Gold. You turn 75, and you get a blank cheque to unlimited, immediate, hospital care - all completely paid for by the taxpayer.

Not even Whitlam and his architect of the original Medibank, Bill Hayden, would ever have contemplated such an open-ended spending commitment. A commitment to the very age cohort that could legitimately suck up billions. In health care terms, the demands really are limitless.

Posted by: Pig Head Sucker at October 4, 2004 at 12:55 PM

The guy who signs as "marklatham" once called a talkback show on blogs I'd appeared on. His contribution was essentially this:

"Hi! I leave comments on blogs under the name mark latham!"

"Really? And why do you do that?"

"Er ... ummm ... I leave comments on blogs under the name mark latham!"

He did a brilliant job of promoting the medium.

Posted by: tim at October 4, 2004 at 01:30 PM

what's this bringing some reality into the question on Medicare Gold? Good heavens man! Next you'll be wanting the mainstream media to do some "investigation", and actually report to the masses on the tax hikes that will be required to fulfill the obligations. Not on old boy!

Just sit back and wait for the medication from the Greens, then everything will be all right.

Posted by: Lofty at October 4, 2004 at 01:42 PM

Michael, by all means roll around the floor laughing. When you finish, find yourself a pair of spectacles and re-read my post/s. I've done so twice and can't find any reference to the name Latham. My problem is with Mr Howard and I'm in no way enamored of the other guy. The real gut wrencher for a died in the wool conservative is having to vote for somebody who I at best can only partially agree with because the alternative, Mr Howard, is just plain obnoxious. The ambivalence of the polls at this late stage suggests that I'm not alone.

Posted by: Jason G at October 4, 2004 at 01:52 PM

He did a brilliant job of promoting the medium.

Like anyone could have come to a different conclusion after reading his truly insightful and original posts here.


Maybe he's trying to make the real Latham look good by comparison...

Posted by: PW at October 4, 2004 at 03:42 PM

Let's not forget that our little marklatham sticks elecrtical tape Hitler mustaches on campaign signs. Such a clever boy!

Posted by: Sortelli at October 4, 2004 at 03:55 PM

Jason G

My granfather died in the wool - suffocated to death, poor bastard.

Posted by: Pig Head Sucker at October 4, 2004 at 04:16 PM

I thought it was the real Mark Latham,Doh!

Posted by: gubbaboy at October 4, 2004 at 04:36 PM

Poor bastard "Pig Head Sucker", your family has my sympathy. But then again your grandfather would have had the choice between Menzies and Evatt. No need to puzzle over that one or Fraser and Whitlam for that matter. Voting for an unprincipled populist manipulator is an entirely different matter, even our own Murdoch press is comparing him to Billy McMahon. I'm not the only conservative in Australia wrestling with that. Congratulation however on your clarity of thought, it's one of the benefits of being simple minded.

Posted by: Jason G at October 4, 2004 at 05:58 PM