Mark Latham

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Latham with mentor, former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, at an election fundraiser in Melbourne, September 2004 Goughandmark.jpg
Latham with mentor, former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, at an election fundraiser in Melbourne, September 2004

Until March 2004, Labor under Latham's leadership held a strong lead in national opinion polls. Latham's commitment to withdraw from Iraq caused a sharp drop in Labor's lead,[ citation needed ] but following the revelations of prisoner abuse in the Abu Ghraib prison, Labor's lead increased again, suggesting that support for involvement in Iraq had declined, undermining Howard's position.

In June 2004, Labor's "troops home by Christmas" policy came under fire from U.S. President George W. Bush who, at a White House press conference during Howard's visit to Washington DC, described it as "disastrous". Bush's comments raised controversy in Australia over whether Bush was interfering in Australia's domestic political affairs, whether the election of a Latham government would endanger the U.S. alliance, and whether the comments were made with Howard's prior knowledge.[ citation needed ]

Shortly afterwards, Latham announced the recruitment of Peter Garrett, president of the Australian Conservation Foundation and former lead singer with the rock band Midnight Oil, as a Labor candidate in Kingsford Smith, a safe Sydney electorate being vacated by the retiring former minister Laurie Brereton. Garrett revealed that he had been approached months before by senior ALP figures, including John Faulkner and Kim Beazley, and had taken this long to make up his mind. [15] Most commentators regarded his recruitment as a high-risk tactic, seeing the potential advantage to Labor of Garrett's popularity among young people as being offset by the possibility that his record of radical and anti-American statements in the past would offend moderate voters.

The second coup scored by Latham was the announcement that he would abolish the generous superannuation schemes available to members of parliament; his plan was quickly adopted by the Howard government in the face of a rising wave of public support with the support of his mentor former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, the former member for Werriwa.

Other announced policies and initiatives included: the introduction of federal government parenting classes for those parents deemed to be failing to adequately discipline their children; a ban on food and drink advertising during children's television viewing hours; the introduction of a national youth mentoring program; the government distribution of free story books to the families of newborn children; a federal ban on plastic shopping bags; and the introduction of legislation to prohibit vilification on the basis of religious beliefs or sexual orientation, similar to laws adopted in the state of Victoria that some critics said had led to a restriction of free speech. Some of these initiatives prompted Howard to criticise Latham as a "behavioural policeman".

The Liberal-National coalition focused heavily on Latham's inexperience during the campaign (in Australia, yellow "L-plates" are attached to cars driven by learner drivers). L-plate latham.jpg
The Liberal-National coalition focused heavily on Latham's inexperience during the campaign (in Australia, yellow "L-plates" are attached to cars driven by learner drivers).

In July 2004, Latham again became the centre of controversy when it was alleged on a commercial television network that he had punched a political rival during his time on Liverpool Council. Latham strongly denied the accusation. On 6 July 2004, he called a press conference and denounced the government for maintaining what he called a "dirt unit," which he said was gathering personal material about him, including details of his first marriage. The government denied that any such unit existed, but some observers speculated that Liberal Party researchers had accumulated more potentially embarrassing material about Latham, which would be used during the election campaign (a threat which never eventuated), in addition to claims that Latham was an inexperienced economic manager.

Between March and August, Latham's position in the opinion polls gradually declined, leading to renewed speculation that Howard would call an early election. During August, Labor claimed a tactical victory over the government on the issue of the Australia – United States Free Trade Agreement and there were allegations in a Senate inquiry that Howard had lied about the "Children Overboard Affair" during the 2001 election campaign. By mid-August, Labor was again ahead in all three national opinion polls.

The election was held on 9 October 2004. Although opinion polls showed the ALP leading the government at various stages of the six-week campaign, the government was re-elected with an increased majority. This was despite Latham being generally credited with a strong performance and a victory in the sole campaign debate. In the days after the election, Latham was criticised for releasing many key policies too late, a case in point being Labor's policy regarding conservation of Tasmanian old growth forests.

Among those critical of Latham were journalists Tom Allard and Mark Metherell, who said "the flurry of releases meant Mr Latham went off message from Labor's core strengths of health and education." Labor's party president, Carmen Lawrence, blamed the unexpected severity of the defeat on an effective Coalition "scare campaign" focused on Latham's limited economic management experience, and the alleged threat of a rise in interest rates under Labor, which was not effectively countered, reportedly in an attempt by Tim Gartrell to conserve funds for later in the campaign (where, in previous years, Labor had been outspent by the Liberals).

Gartrell also apparently failed to anticipate the interest rates scare campaign. [16] The inability of his campaign to counter the Liberal campaign would later be cited by Latham himself, in the Latham Diaries, as a key reason for the election loss. [17] Latham wrote that he had told his wife Janine that "I've tried to carry the whole show on my shoulders: my family, my community, my party. But now I'm stuffed. I have collapsed under the weight of those fucking ads". [18] Michael Costello, a former chief of staff to Kim Beazley, said: "This is a complete train wreck. We now face at least two terms before we can win government again. We face at least three years with John Howard pretty much in control of the Senate."

On the morning of 8 October, the day before the election, a television crew filmed Latham and Howard shaking hands as they crossed paths outside an Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio studio in Sydney. The footage showed Latham appearing to draw Howard towards him and tower over his shorter opponent. The incident received wide media coverage and, while Latham claimed to have been attempting to get revenge for Howard squeezing his wife's hand too hard at a press function, it was variously reported as being "aggressive", "bullying" and "intimidating" on the part of Latham. The Liberal Party campaign director, Brian Loughnane, later said this incident generated more feedback to Liberal headquarters than anything else during the six-week campaign, and that it "brought together all the doubts and hesitations that people had about Mark Latham". Latham disputes the impact of this incident, however, having described it as a "Tory gee-up: we got close to each other, sure, but otherwise it was a regulation man's handshake. It's silly to say it cost us votes – my numbers spiked in the last night of our polling." [19] According to Latham's account of events, Latham came in close to Howard for the handshake to prevent Howard shaking with his arm rather than his wrist.

Latham became the first Labor opposition leader since Frank Tudor in 1917 to fail to make a net gain in seats from the government at his first election. [20] Some commentators, including Kim Beazley, said Latham's leadership had rescued Labor from a much heavier defeat. [21] Beazley said polling a year before the election indicated the ALP would lose "25–30 seats" in the House of Representatives. Instead the party lost a net four seats in the lower house, a swing of 0.21% and there was a 1.1% swing to the ALP in the Senate.

Leadership tensions

Labor's defeat led to media criticisms of Latham's personal style and policy priorities, and also to a crisis in confidence in his leadership within the Labor caucus. Several prominent members of the front-bench, notably John Faulkner, Lindsay Tanner and Bob McMullan, chose not to recontest front-bench positions. McMullan made it clear he was unhappy with Latham's leadership style and gave an interview suggesting there would be a leadership challenge early in 2005. The national secretary of the Australian Workers' Union, Bill Shorten, was also highly critical of Latham.

In December, after Latham was incorrectly reported to have blamed Labor's state premiers for the defeat, an unnamed Labor frontbencher predicted a leadership challenge within the next few months, saying Latham's supporters had lost confidence in him. Latham also had a heated public confrontation with the Labor deputy leader in the Senate, Stephen Conroy, renewing speculation there would be a challenge to Latham's leadership in the new year.

Latham was helped by the fact that there was no obvious successor to the leadership. The most likely candidates, Kevin Rudd, Wayne Swan and Stephen Smith, accepted senior positions on Latham's frontbench and pledged loyalty to him. The leaders of the Socialist Left faction, and the centre-left under Martin Ferguson and Julia Gillard, also maintained their support for him. There was little support for a return to Beazley, and neither Tanner nor McMullan were seen as viable leadership candidates. In the longer run, however, many commentators doubted Latham would survive until the 2007 election after such a heavy defeat.

The final crisis for Latham's leadership erupted in the aftermath of the December 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. With both Latham and his deputy leader, Jenny Macklin, on leave, the acting opposition leader, Senator Chris Evans, issued statements in the aftermath of the tsunami. Latham was criticised for not issuing a statement as leader personally, particularly at a time when John Howard expressed national sympathy over the disaster, pledged $1 billion in loans to Indonesia and declared a national day of mourning. Latham rejected the criticism of his non-appearance after the tragedy, saying "none of my verbiage could make any practical difference – bring back the dead, reverse the waves, organise the relief effort". Macklin issued a statement on the disaster on 30 December before also choosing to take leave.

Opinion polls in January showed a sharp decline in Latham's support and a preference for the return of Beazley as Labor leader.

Departure from politics

On 18 January 2005, citing life-threatening illness and family concerns, Latham announced his resignation from the Labor Party leadership and from Parliament. He strongly criticised the media for invading his family's privacy during his illness. Latham had been federal Labor leader for 13 months, the shortest tenure since Billy Hughes was expelled from the party in 1916. Latham was only the second federal Labor leader, after Matthew Charlton in 1928, to leave politics without ever having held ministerial office.

Political journalist Mungo MacCallum wrote:

Latham became leader too early in his career, he lacked the skills needed to deal with the webs of intrigue within his own party, he refused to massage the media and the advisers he did listen to were out of their depth against Howard's praetorian guard. But he had many qualities that were not only desirable and attractive but are in short supply in today's ALP. In other circumstances he could have developed into a formidable leader, even prime minister. As it is, he remains one of the great what-ifs.

Publications

Although Latham wrote Civilising Global Capital while he was an MP, most of his works have been written after his parliamentary career.

Civilising Global Capital

While on the backbench of Parliament in the late 1990s, Latham published Civilising Global Capital: New Thinking for Australian Labor (Allen and Unwin, 1998), in which he argued that Labor needed to abandon many of its traditional policies and embrace the aspirational values (home ownership, higher education) of the upwardly-mobile skilled working class and small business class. His policies as the leader of the Labor Party were largely derived from the stance taken in this book, which ideologically is described as "the third way".

Biography

Latham's biography Loner: Inside a Labor Tragedy, by Bernard Lagan, was launched on 29 June 2005 by Senator John Faulkner, published by Allen & Unwin. The book caused furore within Labor ranks. Most of this was due to material contained within a single email written by Latham in the last page of the book. Of Kim Beazley's return to the leadership, Latham said: "Labor got the leader it truly deserves – it is well suited to a conservative stand-for-nothing type of leader." Latham also criticised state Labor premiers Bob Carr, Peter Beattie and Geoff Gallop, calling them "A-grade arseholes." [22] Union leader Bill Shorten remarked that Latham had displayed "all the attributes of a dog except loyalty." [23]

Of his election loss, Latham wrote:

I had my shot at being prime minister. It didn't work out on several fronts. But life goes on, potentially in a splendid way, spending so much time with my family. After suffering testicular cancer, the greatest gift in my life has been the ability to have children with Janine. I would be a fool to waste it.

The Latham Diaries

Soon after his retirement, Latham announced his decision to publish a selection of diary entries spanning almost a decade. Following a bidding war, it was announced that Melbourne University Press (MUP) would publish the Diaries in late September. MUP later awarded the exclusivity rights for extracts to News Ltd and the exclusivity for the first [24] interview to the ABC television program Enough Rope, which was due to be broadcast at 9.30 pm on Monday 19 September 2005.

Meanwhile, excerpts of the Diaries were published by The Australian from 15 September ahead of their publication in book form on 19 September. The excerpts published include attacks by Latham on the ALP, his successor Kim Beazley, frontbencher Kevin Rudd and former Labor prime ministers Paul Keating and Gough Whitlam. [25]

Due to the publicity the Diaries were now generating, the extensive amount of published extracts, and concerns that Latham had recorded other interviews, in particular with another ABC program, Lateline , Enough Rope pushed to have the interview broadcast four days early on Thursday 15 September at 8.30 pm with a simultaneous broadcast on some ABC radio stations. However, when the time came to broadcast, the ABC announced that the interview would not be shown due to a legal injunction sought by News Limited (owner of The Australian ), which had the rights to publish extracts from the Diaries. Reports on the night said any broadcast by the ABC was a breach of confidentiality between News and the book's publisher, MUP, the newspaper publisher having signed to an A$80,000 deal to publish excerpts of the book in the weekend newspapers. However, at 10.30 pm, the ABC aired the Denton interview after the Supreme Court of New South Wales lifted the injunction. Justice Harry Palmer said the publication of large parts of the book in News Limited newspapers largely destroyed the value of the material. Due to the last-minute changes, the edition of ABC's Lateline program scheduled for 10.30 pm featuring another interview with Latham (also subject to the short-lived injunction) was aired the following night. [26]

The Diaries represent a remarkable and unprecedented statement by a former leader of a major political party. In the book, Latham is scathing about Australia's political system:

It takes committed people ... and turns them into one-dimensional robots ... The only good news is that the public is on to them. The electorate has worked out the artificiality of it all. They can see through the spin doctors, the publicity stunts, the polling and the tricks of marginal-seat campaigning. This is why people now talk about politics with a cool anger. They have a clear feeling that the system is far from genuine. That the robots, in fact, are tin men. [27]

A Conga Line of Suckholes

Latham's seventh book, a collection of quotations titled A Conga Line of Suckholes, was released by Melbourne University Publishing in late September 2006. [28]

"No Exit The ALP"

In November 2010, Latham contributed an essay in The Monthly titled "No Exit The ALP". [29] In it, Latham again criticised the ALP, writing that "for all the heightened rhetoric, for the seemingly endless creation of summits, committees and policy review processes, the lasting impression from the Rudd years is one of emptiness". He also remarked that "Without a guiding philosophy of politics, Rudd's prime ministership was an exercise in populism. He avoided tough decisions and mastered the art of media manipulation as a way of extending his honeymoon". Latham concludes that Labor had "lost its way". His suggested solution is that Labor again champions great causes, writing that:

Having studied the literature and, at one time, been part of these debates, I can identify just three credible ideas that have been advanced for the renewal of the social democratic project. Each seeks to move beyond economic issues, beyond the material realm of politics, to stake out new ground. The first tries to reclaim social capital, the rebuilding of mutualism and community, as a Labor icon. The second positions Labor as an anti-establishment party, breaking down the entrenched centres of power in society. The third champions a crusade on climate change, an uncompromising attempt to roll back the materialism of western society in favour of environmental values.

Latham finishes his essay by writing about the difficulties of each approach.

Other publications

Mark Latham also wrote Reviving Labor's agenda: a program for local reform (Pluto Press / Australian Fabian Society, 1990), What did you learn today?: creating an education revolution (Allen & Unwin, 2001), From the Suburbs: Building a Nation from our Neighbourhoods (Pluto Press Australia, 2003), The Political Bubble: Why Australians Don't Trust Politics (Pan Macmillan, 2014), Latham at Large (Melbourne University Press, 2015), and Taking Back Australia: Saving Our Country, Our Culture, Our Civilisation (Wilkinson Publishing, 2018).

He also, as at 2020, writes a weekly article for the Spectator magazine (Australian edition): "Latham's Law".

Post-political life

Melbourne University Lecture

Latham gave his first public lecture since the release of the Diaries, titled "Ten Reasons Why Young Idealistic People Should Forget About Organised Politics", on 27 September 2005, at Melbourne University. During the lecture, he argued that organised politics is ineffective at achieving real social change, due to public apathy, the rise of conservatism and the inward-focused structure of the major parties, and instead encouraged youth to focus on more grassroots, community-based programs. He also claimed politics has a detrimental impact on health, happiness and family life, largely blaming the "arrogant" and "incompetent" media, as well as internal party struggles. [30] [31]

Incident at Hungry Jack's

On Thursday 19 January 2006, Latham was eating with his two sons at a Hungry Jack's restaurant in Campbelltown, New South Wales when he was photographed by Ross Schultz, a photographer from The Daily Telegraph. Schultz alleged that Latham snatched the camera and smashed it, without destroying the electronic media that contained the photographs. It was reported that Latham called Schultz a paedophile, presumably because he thought Schultz had taken pictures of his sons. The Telegraph subsequently announced plans for upcoming publication of the photographic images in the following Saturday's edition and that it would be seeking $12,000 from Latham to replace the equipment. [32] The following day, Latham appeared to drive towards a Channel 7 television cameraman at his Sydney home. The photographer was unhurt but Seven's head of news in Sydney, Chris Willis, said the footage clearly showed Latham's car veer toward the cameraman as he stood on the side of the road. [32] In February 2006, Latham was charged with assault, malicious damage and theft in relation to the incident. Latham did not appear in Campbelltown Local Court to face the charges, on 22 March, instead giving a lecture to political science students at the Australian National University. When asked by a student how he could blame everyone else but himself, Latham replied: "I'm sorry I didn't come in here and expose myself as a miserable arsewipe". [33] On 26 April, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Latham again chose not to appear in Campbelltown Local Court in relation to the 19 January incident. The case was adjourned to 24 May. [34] On 6 June, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Latham escaped having a criminal conviction for malicious damage to the camera being used by Schultz recorded against him, but had been placed on a good behaviour bond for two years. After pleading guilty to malicious damage, he had the charges of assault and theft dropped. [35] He was also required to pay $6,763.70 in compensation for the damaged camera. [36]

The Sun Herald reported on 13 August 2006 that the family were moving from their Glen Alpine home to a property at Mount Hunter, near Camden. [37]

2007 federal election

He commented on the 2007 federal election campaign with an article in the Australian Financial Review , in which he said Australia was having a "Seinfeld election, a show about nothing". Latham wrote that, no matter which party won, Australia would have a conservative economic policy and an industrial relations system which was decentralised and productivity-based. He stated that Australian public life had reached the "zenith of policy convergence", and that "Many people in the Labor movement are expecting Labor in power to be far more progressive than its stated election promises. I expect a Labor administration to be even more timid, more conservative". [38]

2010 federal election

In 2010, Latham was a guest reporter for television show 60 Minutes, where he reported on the federal election campaign. It was here that during a report he confronted Julia Gillard. Latham pushed his way through the crowd and confronted Gillard and her partner, Tim Mathieson, saying: "I understand you have made a complaint about me working for Channel 9". [39] Gillard replied "I don't know anything about that, Mark. If you want to work with Channel 9, that's a matter for you", before Latham suggested that Kevin Rudd had been behind the leaks against her during the campaign. [39]

During the campaign, Latham attacked Gillard's stance on population growth as "a fraud", arguing that the Gillard government would have to reduce immigration levels if it was serious about easing population pressures in Australia's capital cities. [40]

He also caused a stir when, on 60 Minutes, he urged voters to issue a protest vote by leaving the ballot paper blank on election day:

They say that voting in Australia is compulsory, but it's not compulsory to fill out the ballot paper. You can put it in the ballot box, totally blank. That's what I'll be doing on Saturday and I urge you to do the same. It's the ultimate protest vote. [41] [42]

Following that interview, he continued to attack Gillard as well as journalist Laurie Oakes. [43]

2013 federal election

On 14 August 2013, during the election federal campaign, Latham was interviewed by the 3AW radio station in Melbourne. He caused controversy when asked to comment on Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott's characterisation of Fiona Scott, the Liberal candidate for Lindsay, as having "sex appeal". Latham responded:

It showed very bad judgment, it showed that he's got low standards. I've had a good look at Fiona Scott [...] and I don't think she's got sex appeal at all. [... Abbott] must have had the beer goggles on because she's not that good of a sort, and I'd rather have an aspirant for the prime ministership who's a good judge when it comes to checking out the good sorts. [44] [45] [46] [47]

Controversy at the Australian Financial Review and Triple M

In August 2015, Latham resigned from his regular column after spending eight years with the Australian Financial Review . [48] His resignation was linked to a series of articles critical of Australian of the Year Rosie Batty and also Group Captain Catherine McGregor. [48]

In January 2016, further controversy erupted over Latham's radio podcast on Triple M with comments that he paraphrased from a government report saying "men who have lost their self esteem" turn to domestic violence "as a coping mechanism." [49] Latham referred to Batty (whose son was murdered by his father) as "exploiting her personal tragedy" and "doing more harm than good" by publicising domestic violence against women and children as an epidemic "when the official reports show it at one percent." [50] Batty responded that she hoped "someone like Mark is able to become more informed and (is) not stuck in the, I guess, ignorant position because that type of thinking went out several decades ago...there are still some people unfortunately very influenced and stuck in those (mindsets)." [51]

Triple M is a supporter of White Ribbon Campaign, a charity which is led by men to raise awareness of domestic violence caused by men. Since Latham's podcast was broadcast, there have been widespread calls for White Ribbon to distance itself from Triple M and Latham. [52] The chair of White Ribbon, John Rosewarn, responded that "Mark Latham's views on domestic violence, as aired by Triple M, show his lack of understanding and knowledge of this complex issue, including its prevalence, causes and community response." [53] White Ribbon also tweeted: "Domestic violence is much more than physical violence; it's never a coping mechanism." [54]

2016 US Presidential election

During the 2016 United States Presidential election, Latham announced his support for Republican candidate Donald Trump, stating “Donald is by no means perfect but I much prefer his approach to the lying snakes of machine politics and media manipulation" and praised Trump's pledge to dismantle the Obama administration's deals with Iran. [55]

Commentator

Latham at the 2018 Church and State Summit Mark Latham - Church And State Summit 2018 02.jpg
Latham at the 2018 Church and State Summit

After leaving federal politics, Latham worked as a journalist and political and social commentator, appearing on numerous panel programs including Sunrise on the Seven Network and The Verdict on the Nine Network. In 2016, Latham became co-host of Sky News Live programs Jones + Co and in 2017 co-host of Outsiders . [4]

In a March edition of Outsiders, Latham criticised a lack of diversity among corporate diversity officers and included Sky News colleague Peter van Onselen's wife as an example. van Onselen and his To The Point co-host Kristina Keneally criticised Latham for the segment. Latham responded by criticising both, including negative statements about Keneally's record as Premier of New South Wales. [56] Keneally threatened to take defamation action and made a formal complaint to Sky News management. [56] In a separate incident, ABC Radio Sydney presenter Wendy Harmer initiated legal action after Latham made numerous statements criticising her. [57]

A third controversy related to Latham questioning the sexuality of a school student during an Outsiders segment criticising a video put out by Sydney Boys High School in support of International Women's Day and suggested he "thought that first guy was gay", referring to a student in the video. [56] Latham was fired from Sky News on 29 March 2017 after the story was published. [5] [58]

Latham later defended himself saying that a lot of journalists who discussed the comments had not seen the show:

That video was put out there to deliberately confuse people, because the young people were using the words of women and the first fellow up was talking about sex with a man - so it became clear later on what the sort of trick was, but they put it up there for public discussion, we had a discussion about it on the show. No offence was meant, none should have been taken. It really is appalling that people who complained about nothing at the time all of a sudden get worked up later on... [59]

In April 2017, Latham launched a website called Mark Latham's Outsiders and hosted a weekly Facebook Live program. Despite sharing the same name, it is unrelated to the Sky News program Outsiders which has continued without him as host. [60]

In 2019, Latham was a keynote speaker at the inaugural Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Australia, alongside former prime minister Tony Abbott and British politician Nigel Farage. [61]

Return to politics

Liberal Democrats

In May 2017, Latham announced via his Facebook page that he would be joining the Liberal Democrats, [62] a libertarian party. The Labor Party responded by placing a life ban on Latham from ever re-joining the party, after a motion was passed by the New South Wales branch of the Labor Party. [63] According to Latham, he had terminated his ALP membership in March 2017 after being refused permission to address a party gathering. [64]

Latham also announced that he was open to running as a candidate for the Liberal Democrats in future elections. [65] However, he was blocked by the party executive from running as a candidate and, as a result, resigned his party membership in September 2018. [66]

One Nation

In November 2018, Latham announced that he had joined One Nation as the party's state leader in New South Wales, and would stand for the Legislative Council at the 2019 state election. In response, Luke Foley, the state ALP leader, ruled out preferencing One Nation candidates. [67] Latham ran on a platform which opposed immigration, congestion, overdevelopment and renewable power, and proposed DNA tests for Aboriginal welfare recipients [68] and banning the burqa in Government buildings. [69]

Latham was successful in his bid to return to parliament, winning an eight-year term in the Legislative Council. [68] [70] Latham's maiden speech to the NSW parliament focused on criticising "leftist elites", maintaining the values of Western civilisation, the importance of education and the right to freedom of speech, as exemplified in the recent Israel Folau controversy. [71]

Political positions in One Nation

Immigration

Latham supports travel ban on certain Islamic countries, saying, "If you know that there’s a country that’s producing a lot of troublemakers, would-be terrorists, radical jihadists coming to Australia, what sort of sane nation would say, 'Bring 'em in!' If you know there's a nation that's no good for us, then turn off the tap." [72]

Burqa ban

Latham supports banning the burqa in government buildings, banks and airports. [69]

Same sex marriage

Latham has claimed he is a supporter of same sex marriage. However, in 2017 during the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey he endorsed the 'no' vote, saying that a 'yes' vote "will open a can of worms". [73]

Australia Day

In 2018, Latham launched a Save Australia Day campaign with help from Aboriginal politician Jacinta Price in response to the #ChangeTheDate social media campaign which called for the date of Australia Day to be moved or for the holiday to be abolished entirely due to criticisms from members of the Aboriginal population and sympathizers who claim it is a celebration of imperialism. Latham argued "Changing the date will not change the circumstances of any disadvantaged Indigenous people" and "if the Left succeeds in moving or abolishing Australia Day, there is nothing about Australia that will be safe into the future." [74] [75]

Personal life

Latham began dating his first wife, Gabrielle Gwyther, in 1987, and they married in 1991. They separated in 1997 and divorced in 1999. [76] Latham married his second wife, Janine Lacy, in 2000; they have two sons together. [77]

Latham has described himself as a humanist. In a 2004 interview he said "I'm agnostic. I think there's a force, a spiritual world beyond the material. But I'm not in a position to define it, let alone put it into a certain form of religious practice." [78]

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The 2005 Werriwa by-election was held in the Australian electorate of Werriwa in south-western Sydney on 19 March 2005, after the resignation of Labor MP Mark Latham, who had represented the electorate since 1994. Latham had been federal Opposition Leader since 2 December 2003 and led Labor to defeat at the 2004 election. He had become increasingly dissatisfied with politics and was struggling with recurring pancreatitis. He announced his resignation from parliament on 18 January 2005.

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Mark Victor Arbib is an Australian former Labor Party politician and trade unionist, who was an Australian Senator for New South Wales from 2008 to 2012.

Leadership spill

In Australian politics, a leadership spill is a declaration that the leadership of a parliamentary party is vacant and open for re-election. A spill may involve all leadership positions, or just the leader. Where a rival to the existing leader calls for a spill, it may also be called a leadership challenge.

2010 Australian Labor Party leadership spill

A leadership spill occurred in the Australian Labor Party on 24 June 2010. Kevin Rudd, the Prime Minister of Australia, was challenged by Julia Gillard, the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, for the leadership of the Australian Labor Party. Gillard won the election unopposed after Rudd declined to contest, choosing instead to resign. Gillard was duly sworn in as prime minister by Quentin Bryce, the Governor-General, on 24 June 2010 at Government House, becoming Australia's first female prime minister.

Gillard Government

The Gillard Government was the Government of Australia led by the 27th Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, of the Australian Labor Party. The Gillard Government succeeded the First Rudd Government by way of the Labor Party leadership spill, and began on 24 June 2010, with Gillard sworn in as Prime Minister by the Governor-General of Australia, Quentin Bryce. The Gillard Government ended when Kevin Rudd won back the leadership of the Australian Labor Party on 26 June 2013 and commenced the Second Rudd Government.

2006 Australian Labor Party leadership spill

A leadership spill of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) was held on 4 December 2006. Opposition Leader Kim Beazley was challenged by Shadow Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, while Deputy Opposition Leader Jenny Macklin was challenged by Shadow Health Minister Julia Gillard in a joint-ticket. Rudd defeated Beazley, after which Macklin resigned, leaving Gillard to become Deputy Leader unopposed.

Two leadership spills of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), the official opposition party in the Parliament of Australia, were held on 16 June 2003 and 2 December 2003, respectively. The Opposition Leader, Simon Crean, won the ballot in June against former opposition leader Kim Beazley, but resigned as leader in late November after losing support from his colleagues and did not contest the December ballot which Mark Latham won against Kim Beazley.

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Further reading

Mark Latham
MLC
Mark Latham - Church And State Summit 2018 04.jpg
Latham in January 2018
Member of the New South Wales Legislative Council
Assumed office
23 March 2019
Civic offices
Preceded by
Mayor of Liverpool
1991–1994
Succeeded by
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Member for Werriwa
1994–2005
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by
Leader of the Australian Labor Party
2003–2005
Succeeded by