January 3

Mark Latham Again

Christopher Pearson began his column in The Weekend Australian on 3-4 January 2004 by describing his first encounter with Mark Latham. This was after Mr. Latham had, under parliamentary privilege, defamed him, as well as Frank Devine and Piers Akerman, as puppets merely because they had written about a book supporting one side in the Hindmarsh Island affair. Feelings were running high and the left and most of the press gallery had boycotted the launch of the book. They met and the explanation for his attack was along the line that oppositions could afford to be irresponsible!


Mr Latham began to attend Centre of Independent Studies functions, which along with Christopher Pearson's Adelaide Review and The Sydney Daily Telegraph gave him a platform. This did not stop him from subsequently attacking them- a celebrated example of biting the hand that fed him. But Mr Pearson reminds us of the fact that politicians don't have to be nice to succeed. He says Mr Latham has made two mistakes. First appointing Simon Crean as shadow treasurer-a case of transparent back scratching. It will not impress the voters. Mr. Latham was not able to put a mark on Mr Costello ; it is unlikely that Mr Crean will be able to succeed there. His second mistake was his sop to the Left, says Mr Pearson. This was raising the issue of a republic. Christopher Pearson says it is a possible, but by no means a foregone conclusion that the people could vote in favour of a republic in a plebiscite. But then imagine the constitutional nightmare if satisfactory replacement could not be found. Has any thought been given, he asks, to the prospect of an undermined role for a Governor-General who would remain in an unseemly constitutional limbo?


He believes Mr Latham is astute enough to know most Australians will not support a directly elected President and no sensible prime minister would contemplate the consequential undermining of his own powers. Unless Mr Latham is, he says, irretrievably wedded to the image of a western suburbs vandal he should rethink his position quickly. He laments that most academic constitutional lawyers view constitutions as glorified Meccano AUSTRALIANS FOR NSTITUT1ONAL MONARCHY PROMOTING OUR CONSTITUTION THROUGH EDUCATION http://norepublic.com.auiHotislews/HNewsLathamAgain.htm constructions-they just don't have the common sense that, say, the late Dick McGarvie had. He used to warn those editors and other elites that were pushing the republican bandwagon of the commercial consequences of constitutional uncertainty. And there are plenty of examples of that. Just look in any history book, or indeed, any newspaper.


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