December 07, 2004


Apologies to Iraqis, apologies to the whole world ... now Mark Latham is apologising to Labor supporters:

The Labor Party owed its supporters an apology for failing to get its act together even two months after losing the election, Opposition Leader Mark Latham said today.

"The election is almost two months ago and in the period since we have had trouble regrouping. That is obvious. It is very plain. I am very sorry for that. I feel sorry for the people who supported us on election day and thought that even if we were in opposition we would be a lot better and (more) cohesive then this.

"So we owe the Australian people who voted for us on October 9 an apology and an assurance that we will do better in 2005."

Well, he could hardly do worse:

Mark Latham's leadership rating is at its lowest point, and Labor's support has now fallen to well below the level when Simon Crean was dumped.

John Howard now has his biggest lead over Mr Latham as preferred prime minister -- 60 per cent to 25 per cent -- and for the first time more voters are dissatisfied with the Opposition Leader than satisfied -- 46 per cent to 38 per cent.

According to the latest Newspoll survey, conducted for The Australian last weekend, Labor's primary vote has slumped from 38 per cent two weeks ago to just 33 per cent -- the lowest since the middle of last year under Simon Crean. On a two-party-preferred basis, the Coalition's lead lifted to 55 per cent, against Labor's 45 per cent.

The soldiers for democracy at No Thappy John have responded to these developments by continuing their aggressive campaign of paralysis. Burnout really is a serious issue for activists. Tony Abbott seems to have plenty of energy, however:

Since the election, Labor-leaning journalists have been resigning from the Latham fan club like Communist Party members after the invasion of Hungary ... It's not odd that journalists should favour Labor when the ALP is politically ascendant. What's odd is that political journalists should support Labor even when the federal parliamentary Labor Party looks like a bunch of professional losers. If it is self-evident that an Anglo-Saxon police force can't deal with ethnic crime, or that English-speaking-only administrators can't mastermind the reconstruction of Iraq, or that a celibate priesthood can't fully grasp the stresses of family life, why isn't it equally self-evident that a left-leaning media will never really understand the workings of a conservative government or the instincts of a conservative electorate?

Posted by Tim Blair at December 7, 2004 02:46 PM

That No Thappy John site should have 2 million members any day now.

Posted by: Hanyu at December 7, 2004 at 02:57 PM

Let's face it, the next step for Labor is to go wading on the Great Barrier Reef with a leaky bucket of chum...

Posted by: richard mcenroe at December 7, 2004 at 03:03 PM

Tim, I think Labor supporters is a different link to that of the following quoted passage.

Anyway, tellingly, the operative word from Lathams apology was 'we', rather than 'I'.

Posted by: jafa at December 7, 2004 at 03:04 PM

The really, really, really, sad thing is that back in the day where many of us flirted with the idea that John (Superman) Howard might actually and regretably lose, some (Tim included) thought that Latham might actually be a viable alternative. Shudder, [pause for a Team America vomit].

Thank GOD that this did not come to pass [FUCK YEAH].

Posted by: Greg at December 7, 2004 at 03:19 PM

That's actually a pretty good column by Tony. Well, I suppose he was a journalist for a while.

Posted by: Quentin George at December 7, 2004 at 03:20 PM

But Latham was using the Royal "we" right, because we are amused.

Posted by: JBB at December 7, 2004 at 03:21 PM

You've got to admire Tony Abbott: not only a witty speaker and clever writer, but also a good boxer as well.

Needless-to-say, this speech doesn't seem to have got any publicity outside The Age. Too close to the bone perhaps?

Posted by: mr magoo at December 7, 2004 at 03:24 PM

Parliamentary Question Time is now required viewing as the govt mercilessly lambaste the flailing Latham Labo(u)r.

Halelujah! Oh sorry day!

Posted by: rog at December 7, 2004 at 03:25 PM

People like to criticise how Bush handled 9/11...can you imagine Latham in a time of national emergency?

Posted by: Quentin George at December 7, 2004 at 03:39 PM

I like Narky Latham's apolgy, which could be rephrased as "I'm sorry that my colleagues have discovered that I am an unelectable boofhead, and are consequently doing a knife job on me that makes Julius Ceaser look like he had a shaving accident because I won't step aside and let someone better have a go."

Posted by: Pauly at December 7, 2004 at 03:41 PM

These are golden times. John Howard in control, the ALP looking like drowned rats, the dead parrot about to fall of his perch, the inner-city luvvies and media lefties routed and subdued, the economy strong, unemployment and inflation low, the dollar stable, and Australia respected in the world. We are entering a period of greatness unknown in our history. Hallelujah indeed!

Posted by: Rob (No 1) at December 7, 2004 at 03:45 PM

People, follow the "the whole world" link, and then check out photo number 1o in the "we're not sorry" slideshow.

You MUST do this.

Posted by: Pauly at December 7, 2004 at 04:00 PM

Latham - Dead man walking.

Posted by: Rob at December 7, 2004 at 04:45 PM

I've got to say that the pictures on the MSNBC slideshow are the most pathetic things I've ever seen in my life.

Posted by: david at December 7, 2004 at 05:22 PM

Befor the election I never really doubted Howard would win. Latham just seemed so bleh. And Howard was doing fine, good economy, shutting down the people smugglers etc.. why change? All the panty-bunching issues so dear to the media left just didn't seem to resonate with people outside. That was my impression.

Blair will get beack in too, for the same reason- he's got no credible opposition figure. People just can't visualise that whatshisname guy as PM.

Posted by: Amos at December 7, 2004 at 06:01 PM

Pauly, it wasn't really compulsory. But it was amusing. :)

Posted by: David Blue at December 7, 2004 at 07:04 PM

The Abbot needs to understand that there is a large mob of the conservative, individualistic, PJ, Right who see religion as a mental health problem. The religious dingbats have much in common with the dribbling Left....both have a plan for YOUR life.

Posted by: TT at December 7, 2004 at 07:17 PM

I'm not 100% sure about that Blair will get in, Amos. It will interesting to see whether the trend is:

  • Return of the Iraqi liberators (Blair winning), or
  • Emergence of conservative forces (Blair losing).

By the way, remembering the name of the conservative leader in the UK is easy: his name is Howard.

Posted by: Jonathan at December 7, 2004 at 08:35 PM

TT needs to understand that he or she is an idiot.

He or she won't.

Unlike Mr Abbott who understands that mainstream Australia has a sense of values - thanks to the Judeo-Christian ethic that has wrought immense good in the world, adjuncted by a number of other similarly altuistic religions - which won't be cowed by idiot leftie charges of religious bigotry.

Because it doesn't exist here, Jack. The evidence is in that mainstream Australia is one of the most tolerant societies in the world.

Take your 'mental health problem' elsewhere, TT.

Posted by: ilibcc at December 7, 2004 at 09:03 PM

The religious dingbats have much in common with the dribbling Left....both have a plan for YOUR life

Seem's like a fairly sensible comment to me IIIbcc. Tolerance is not imposing your viewpoint on others, something Mr Abbott is at least bordering on doing. If he was simply being an ethical politician and not a religious moral crusader then the PM wouldn't have had to pull him in line. TT is not saying you have to view religion as a mental health problem, just that we shouldn't have politicians enforcing their religious views on others. Seems pretty reasonable to me.

Posted by: Michael Sutcliffe at December 7, 2004 at 09:21 PM

Forget the 'enforcing' bullshit, Michael.

Mr Abbott is a politician in a parliamentary democracy. He speaks his mind. It's his opinion. Many agree.

Your problem with that?

Posted by: ilibcc at December 7, 2004 at 09:29 PM

The British election will not be as significant as the Australian or US. If Blair wins its because
the British people were prepared to concede on Iraq if he loses the Torys will be more consistently pro-US than even Blair, the whole party not just a section like Labor.

Gerhard Schroder is finished though, the German Socialists are going to be wiped out, which will be great.

Latham is greasey slimeball, wonder what his Dad Gough Whitlam is thinking right now, two complete and utter nutcases

Posted by: klein at December 7, 2004 at 10:07 PM

He bloody should apologise. I spent four hours of my life I will never get back giving out how-to-votes for that man (more than I would do for most blokes) and all I got was a Mark Latham: Opportunity For All (so where is my job in a shadow minister's office, Mark?) t-shirt and a headache from being ear-bashed by an annoying old Liberal. While saying sorry can be more symbolic than real, in this case it is much warranted.

Posted by: Darlene Taylor at December 7, 2004 at 10:11 PM

This is pathetic. What a strategy to win.

Posted by: A.M. Mora y Leon at December 7, 2004 at 10:30 PM

There was something definately amiss on that first website.
I was hard pressed finding a head tilt on any of them.
What's going on??

Posted by: Intellectual Gladiator at December 7, 2004 at 10:34 PM

I've got to go find some of those old columns confidently proclaiming that Iraq would be the end of Bush, Howard and Blair.

When (if?) Blair wins, compleating the trifecta, it would be hillareous to re-read them, especially since both Bush and Howard have increased their majorities and several high-profile leftist media jackasses like Rather and Gillian have faced the music instead.

Good, wholesome fun.

Posted by: Amos at December 7, 2004 at 11:06 PM

I never understood why they called Australia the lucky country until now. Gorgeous weather and friendly people too, but now you have an imploding left. What more does one want from a country?

By the way, klein, the British election is significant enough to those of us who live here.

Posted by: PJ at December 7, 2004 at 11:59 PM

Mr Abbott is a politician in a parliamentary democracy. He speaks his mind. It's his opinion. Many agree. Your problem with that?

No politician is ever elected to impose their opinion on Parliament. They are elected to impose the opinion of their constituents. It just helps a real lot if their opinion is the same as the majority of their constituents.

Mr Abbott is in the privileged position of having a portfolio. So in his portfolio area his 'constituents' are every Australian. Not all Australians share his religious views, so he needs to make good policy for all of his 'constituents'. Many agree with his views, but not the overwheming majority that would give him a green light to suggest the introduction of policy as he personally sees fit. This was recognised by the PM, and tactfully mentioned by him on national TV when he assured viewers that Mr Abbott was aware of Party policy, and although he speaks his mind he will not try to enforce his own style of policy. Surely you personally agree with the separation of Church and State. Mr Abbott comes very close to violating that separation.

For the record I like Tony Abbott. I'm religious and I support the removal of abortion from Medicare, but I support the removal of a lot of things from Medicare. I don't expect other people to support my views on abortion, and the question of whether abortion remains publically funded is not one of whether it is right or wrong from a moral viewpoint, but to what extent medical procedures should be taxpayer funded.

Posted by: Michael Sutcliffe at December 8, 2004 at 12:00 AM

It's a given that the politically religious seem to fall back on arguments that claim no need for justification beyond the teachings of whatever father figure they follow.
You can see how this works in the southern US bible belt where it is assumed that unless you are a believer you are immoral in all things. Close to ilibcc's fragile heart perhaps.
Howard and Tony know that this stuff will play only so far in the suburbs.

Posted by: TT at December 8, 2004 at 06:41 AM

Glad to know you like Mr Abbott, Michael. I'm sure you'll understand that as a man with convictions he will do everything in his power to have those convictions strongly put to the Australian parliament. The world needs politicians who have the spine to speak their mind. You may not agree.

And if he is so easily slapped down by Mr Howard then it seems you have no reason to stress about his views being 'enforced'.

TT, that comment about southern US is a monstrous slur.

It's tomorrow morning and you are still an idiot.

Posted by: ilibcc at December 8, 2004 at 07:56 AM

Ah so...Tim's site is for the exclusive use of the religious Right?
Well drown me in holy water and call me wet.
Appears Rowan Atkinson doesn't think much of protecting the loons from criticism either, though I'd jump at the chance of official protection for the atheist Right from those cruel rampaging religious believers.
It's your rationality that's so devastating.

Posted by: TT at December 8, 2004 at 08:10 AM

OK, TT, since you seem to find this site so painful to your sensibilities, I have banned your IPs. There -- now you won't have to worry about having to respond to the opinions of those who don't agree with you. What can I say -- 'tis the season and I'm just all about the giving.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at December 8, 2004 at 02:20 PM

IIRC, not the first time TT got himself banned for going on his little anti-religion crusade and then whining about this site when people dared to disagree with him, was it...

Posted by: PW at December 8, 2004 at 03:12 PM

Thanks, Andrea.

Imperial Keeper

Posted by: Elizabeth at December 9, 2004 at 01:52 AM

Agree with Sutcliffe about Abbot.Pauly m-a-a-ate there isn't anyone better.Biff merely followed thought for thought the apology Matt Price wrote as an example for him to follow in a News article on the weekend-Sunday to be specific.

Posted by: crash at December 9, 2004 at 10:07 AM