Mark Latham may be rough around the edges but he makes more national interest sense than his old party does, via the ABC:
Former Opposition leader Mark Latham is tossing up a return to politics, but it’s not clear which party would make the best fit for the one-time Labor leader who has since been exiled from the party.
Mr Latham appeared with One Nation leader Pauline Hanson on Sky News last night, but said he was still undecided on whether he would join her party.
“I’ve not made any decision — I do get people urging me, mainly on the basis, they say, that the country’s gone crazy,” he said.
“When you look at the political correctness, the identity politics, the anti-white racism.
“People so often say to me ‘the country’s gone mad. What’s happened? Why has it changed so badly in the last decade. You should get in and do something’.”
Senator Hanson said she would love to have him beside her in Parliament.
“Mark knows that I’d be quite happy to have him on board, but Mark’s his own person,” she said.
“Whether he wants to get involved in politics again, that’s up to Mark.”
Mr Latham has voiced a pre-recorded robocall message for One Nation ahead of the upcoming byelection in Longman, north of Brisbane.
In that message, he warns voters not to trust his former party — a move which came as a surprise to Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm.
Mr Latham joined Senator Leyonhjelm’s party last year.
And Senator Leyonhjelm said he had also been in discussions with Mr Latham about a possible comeback over recent weeks.
“He still has to take into account the views of his wife, his kids and whether he actually wants to return to politics,” Senator Leyonhjelm said.
“Going back into politics for the second time is a bit like getting married a second time.
“It’s a triumph of hope over experience.”
Mr Latham led Labor’s unsuccessful election campaign against John Howard in 2004, quit politics the year after and swore he’d had enough of public life.
For its part, the Labor party has already declared it will never take Mr Latham back. It made that announcement after he joined the Liberal Democrats.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten dismissed Mr Latham’s robocalls as a “sideshow” and a “distraction” from the issues at the heart of upcoming by-elections, and Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen labelled Mr Latham “a rat”.
“I think the Australian people would see through the charlatan that he is, that he’s become,” Mr Bowen said.
“I say that with no relish. It’s sad to see a former Labor Party leader sink to depths.
“But he’ll go down as one of the great Labor rats of history.”
ALP President Wayne Swan said the idea of Mr Latham making a political return at all was extraordinary.
“He’s been in just about every political party in the history of this country,” Mr Swan said.
“So what we’ll see from Mark Latham and what we’ll see from Pauline Hanson is more of the same — which is kooky extremism.”
Mr Latham told Sky News he now liked the idea of getting several minor parties to band together.
He said that would strengthen democracy by giving them enough clout to properly challenge the Liberals and the ALP.
“Because they’re not doing the job,” he said.
“They’ve lost heaps of support and I’m absolutely convinced that the people are crying out to make Australian politics more competitive.”
Senator Leyonhjelm said he liked that principle, but finding enough common ground to amalgamate with groups like Australian Conservatives or One Nation would be difficult.
I don’t buy the “anti-white racism” line. That’s unnecessarily inflammatory and just a counter-claim to victimhood. So are many of Latham’s antics as he’s deliberately insulted progressives for the past few years in a meteoric media career as the nation’s self-appointed Leftist interlocutor.
But there is a deeper point to make. Latham is exactly right when he attacks identity politics for corrupting the Left’s only reason for being: fighting the class war. This comes to a head most pointedly in Latham’s views on mass immigration. Previously on from a speech at Sustainable Australia:
“I don’t think you need to be John Maynard Keynes to work out that if you lower the demand for housing by cutting the immigration program, you do something to stabilise the price of housing or even bring it down. It’s a simple proposition… Year 11 economics: the first thing they learn about is supply and demand….
What we get in Australia at the moment in the great debate about housing affordability is only half the story. Because just about the entire system… focuses on the supply-side. And there’s a big debate about how we can build more housing… But what about demand? Sydney has 80,000 extra residents per annum. Melbourne has 90,000. And it’s mainly fueled by Australia’s 200,000-plus immigration program each year. And per head of population around the world, we run the biggest immigration program in the West. In the Western World, we have the biggest immigration program per capita.
So wouldn’t it just be plainly logical to put the demand for housing as part of the equation when considering affordability?
So why the cone of silence?… Why doesn’t anyone talk about the common sense in bringing down the biggest immigration program to give some relief on housing prices and relief on home buyers?
Well, it’s a classic case of a convergence of vested interests… You’ve got the two main tribes of left and right agreeing they won’t discuss immigration, they won’t discuss a cut to population as a way of improving housing affordability. And then you’ve got more naked vested interests in the system.
You’ve got the left-wing attachment to open borders… they support Big Australia for that reason.
For the Labor and Liberal parties… a big migration program they weaponise for ethnic branch stacking…
The property and housing industries, of course, they want more people coming in as that’s more money as you build the houses and you develop the property.
Big retailers, they love Big Australia, as they get more people walking through the door to buy their goods – easy money. The financial sector, the home loans… The big advertising industry of course… they make money out of it.
The Department of Treasury in Canberra is very much pro-immigration and a Big Australia… because it’s a good way for Australia to achieve economic growth… Australia’s had 25-years of economic growth. But the truth is, in recent times, Australia’s growth has been sustained by the big immigration program. It hasn’t been sustained by productivity and competitiveness… We sustain our GDP figures artificially. Per head of population we are not going so great… Politicians love the idea of artificially inflating GDP figures, so that also sustains the Big Australia, big immigration program ethos…
So you see right across the political system advocates… Just look at the supply-side of housing, don’t look at the immigration… But in the outer suburbs, all this urban sprawl and congestion has made life dysfunctional in terms of getting around… There’s housing estates popping out of the ground like mushrooms. They’re everywhere. So there’s lots of supply, but it’s not keeping up with the demand. The fact that we are adding 80,000 people to Sydney every year is being driven by immigration… The inner-city Big Australia advocates have no idea about how dysfunction life is becoming in the outer-suburbs… This is a big drain on economic efficiency [as well as] social efficiency…
For people in Western Sydney, quite frankly, you leave home in the dark, you get home in the dark, they don’t see their property in sunlight for most of the year. These traveling times are horrendous. And the supply-side fetish of ‘just build more housing estates’ is making Sydney dysfunctional…
So the more sensible thing to do is find an immigration program for the people who live here… Have a ‘nation-first’ immigration program for the benefit of the residents of Australia. And that program would be defined on a big cut from 200,000-plus to about 50,000 a year… which would be a wonderful stabilising influence on housing prices, stabilise some of the urban sprawl and inefficiency, it’s a logical solution.
But because of all these vested interests – it really is a collaboration – screwing over people in the suburbs, we don’t even hear this part of the political debate, which is a dreadful shame”…
The same arguments apply for wages in reverse of course. Kill the deluge of supply released by the great visa rort to decompress wages. Where’s Labor and the ACTU on this? Tucked up in bed with capital is where.
Latham has always been a radical centrist in the camp of aspirational policy making of free market reform tempered by class consciousness. He’s ocker, certainly, but still socially liberal. He’s a dedicated climate change warrior who supports nuclear over renewables. He’s a defense nationalist with strong Asian engagement values. I’m not sure where he’d stand on China today but I suspect he’d be strongly against its domestic incursions. Cutting immigration is a necessary step in that battle anyway.
None of this deserves the kind of treatment that Labor is dealing out to him just because he called out one of its dirtiest backroom bovver boys in public:
— Sal – (@Achh15) July 9, 2018
Labor has many worthy policies. It’s attack on the great tax concessions rort is very much welcome. Its corporate tax regime is better than the Coalition’s. It’s tax cuts are far superior (though we shouldn’t have any). So are its climate change policies. But any party led by Mark Latham would carry that kind of policy reform platform as well. And if it added cuts to immigration on top then he’d be a no-brainer pick over Labor.
I suspect that’s why they’re so defensive about it.