Former Australian politician and leader of the Labor Party, Mark Latham, is a professional contrarian. And that’s to put it very kindly.
There are few women in the Australian media landscape who Latham hasn’t publicly denigrated, such as domestic violence activist Rosie Batty whose son was murdered by his father. Latham accused Batty of “exploiting her personal tragedy”.
His other targets have included Kristina Keneally, Wendy Harmer, Mia Freedman, Annabel Crabb, Leigh Sales, Anne Summers along with dozens more.
Most of the time, he is not a man who contributes meaningfully to public discourse.
POST CONTINUES BELOW: Are we living in the Age of Anxiety?
But this week, no doubt with the intention of stirring the pot, he might have said something worthy of discussion.
“Since when did anxiety (worrying too much) become a mental illness? Medicalisation of normality, with Lefties helping Big Pharma make big $$” he tweeted to his 12,000 followers on Sunday.
A few hours later he added, “True: fake “anxiety epidemic” used to justify PC language control via safe spaces/trigger warnings. Don’t fall for this crap.”
As Peter Schmigel, the former CEO of Lifeline, a non-profit organisation that provides 24-hour crisis support to Australians, put it – “Mark Latham is half right on the dangers of a ‘fake anxiety epidemic’.”
Schmigel wrote for The Huffington Post, “By allowing the term ‘mental illness’ to become overused and devoid of its real meaning, it could even – at a stretch – put lives at risk.”