YOUTH VOICE: Mark Latham – A Man of Hatred

Posted on August 16, 2010 by


There is little dispute amongst the public that the current federal election campaign has removed itself from serious policy debate and discussion on pressing social issues. The abundance of media personnel surrounding the contenders who seek to place their claim on the “top job” of Australia are largely to blame for this childish personality battle between politicians. However angry and distressed citizens become from this lack of passionate concern for the future of our nation, one cannot help but lose one’s cool over the recent performance of former ALP leader Mark Latham.

Once politician now 60 Minutes reporter, it is clear to those who watched the current affairs program on Sunday August 15th that there is a sense of deep-seated anger still ingrained in the psyche of this less than impressive political actor. Reminiscing over the days where serious policy discussion supposedly took place, the unseemly presence of this politician-turned-journalist in this campaign has been not only ridiculous but to a certain extent, undemocratic. In his recent appearance on 60 Minutes, audiences were subjected to Latham’s highly critical and biased take on the upcoming federal election, which utilised media resources to defy the importance of the written convention on voting. By singularly casting a vote, Australian citizens fulfil a duty that is integral to their liberty and freedom for expression. It is a time where people can show their pride in the foundations of our nation and rejoice in the opportunity to contribute to its future direction.

It is at this point where both I and many other viewers become deeply angered at Mark Latham’s advice for voters place a blank ballot paper into the box on August 21. Obviously troubled and vengeful, it is irresponsible of Channel Nine to condone and air the advice of such an unworthy character.  What message is this “journalist” providing to the youth of our nation when he convincingly portrays to them that the only way to change the political situation is to abandon their democratic right to vote? If many people were to follow Latham’s advice, the election result may not provide the future party of leadership with a strong mandate through which to act on behalf of the people.

Just as infamous as the television recording of Gough Whitlam and the Labor Government’s dismissal from parliament on November 11, 1975, Latham’s forceful handshake with Prime Minister John Howard during the 2004 election campaign highlights an element of hypocrisy in the 60 Minutes segment. Latham’s performance during his bid to become leader of Australia bears great resemblance to his antics at the present time. Hence, why should the Australian people remove their faith in the current progress of government whilst the man who reports the dangers of the “party machine” failed to make a stand when he himself had the chance to do so? In regards to the political propaganda styles adopted by the two major political parties, Australians have not forgotten the rhythmic words of “ease the squeeze”, Latham’s political slogan for gaining support in votes from middle class families.

Hence, the message for Australians, youth and local voters is to not forget that through fulfilling your democratic responsibilities by casting a vote on election day, you can change the nation’s future. Do not be tempted by old political personalities who remain bitter over old defeats. Mark Latham is essentially a skeleton out of the closet. One must ask why Latham chose to appear as a journalist in the first place? One certainty is that it cannot be to help guide Australia to become a more prosperous and competitive nation in a contemporary world. If it were, Latham would not have been so careless in encouraging others to protest and defy their opportunity to vote.


Martin Dickens is a first year Bachelor of Arts student at La Trobe University’s Albury-Wodonga Campus. Having lived in the local region all of his life, Martin is thoroughly interested in Australian Politics and is a member of the Young Liberal Movement. He was formerly the 2009 College Captain of Trinity Anglican College Albury and has been involved in numerous community activities, as well as acting as a United Nations Youth Delegate for Regional Youth Summits.

The views in this story are those of the author and not necessarily those of Our Voice: Politics Albury-Wodonga.