opinion

A reminder of all the things that led to One Nation's new poster boy, Mark Latham. 

It ought to come as a surprise. The former leader of the Labor party and a protégé of Gough Whitlam announces he’s joining the ranks of Pauline Hanson‘s One Nation Party.

But as Mark Latham launched his bid for NSW parliament on Tuesday, barely anyone raised an eyebrow.

For in the almost 14 years since his 13-month reign as Opposition Leader (December 2003 to January 2005), Mark Latham’s roles as a political commentator, columnist and broadcaster unveiled an ire for political correctness and a talent for provoking outrage that made the move seem almost inevitable.

As Latham begins this bizarrely predictable next chapter, let’s take a look back at how we got here.

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In no particular order…

That time he argued that feminists are bad mothers.

Mark Latham isn’t a fan of feminists, what with their ideas about social, political and economic equality of the sexes ‘n’ all.

Lefty or “inner city feminists”, he likes to call them. (We presume he finds the rural ones less offensive. Or something.)

Perhaps the best example of his objection came via a 2014 Australian Financial Review column titled ‘Why Left Feminists Don’t Like Kids’. In it he wrote, “They spend a lot of time complaining, ostensibly on behalf of other women, yet their real priority is themselves. More often than not, they don’t like children and don’t want to be with them. They use political feminism as a release valve, trying to free themselves from nature’s way.”

Nature’s way? Wow.

That time he said a female political candidate wasn’t “a good sort”.

You know how, during the 2013 election, Liberal leader Tony Abbott described candidate for Lindsay, Fiona Scott, as having “sex appeal”? Yeah. That.

Well, asked about the remark during an interview on 3AW radio, Latham’s response somehow managed to sink even lower.

“It showed very bad judgement, it showed that he’s got low standards,” Latham said. “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 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, as many Australian men do.”

(There was some even more vile remarks in between, but we’re not going to repeat them here.)

That time a troll twitter account was proven to be his.

It seemed like a parody account. And dear Lord, we all sincerely hoped it was. For whoever was operating @RealMarkLatham had, for example, described trans advocate Cate McGregor as a “he/she”, had lambasted journalist Annabelle Crabb for using a nanny, and had taken aim at anti-domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty.

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But courtesy of an investigation by BuzzFeed published in August 2015, the sad truth was revealed. Mark Latham was behind the account.

The revelation led to Latham standing down from his role as a columnist at the AFR. The account has since been revived. Hooray.

That time he described domestic violence as “a coping mechanism” for men.

In a podcast posted to the Triple M website in 2016, Latham suggested that rather than having a poor view of women, domestic abusers actually have a poor view of themselves.

“They have lost their self-esteem, their job, are welfare-dependent, on drugs or alcohol in their life. They use domestic violence as a coping mechanism to get over all the other crap they have in their lives,” he said.

He also argued that the anti-domestic violence “push” was a campaign “against all Australian men”.

“A lot of it of course has come out of Rosie Batty’s role as a spokeswoman for the feminist movement, the left feminist movement,” he said. “That’s the thing that worries me about the domestic violence campaign; it’s being run for political reasons. It’s left feminists pushing what they call definition of patriarchy. They think Australia is a patriarchy.”

That time he called teenage boys “dickheads” for supporting International Women’s Day.

When a group of teens from Sydney Boys High made a video about feminism in honour of International Women’s Day 2017, Latham responded by calling them “dickheads” and speculating about their sexuality on national television.

“I thought the first guy was gay,” he said, during the Sky News panel discussion.

He was sacked by the network as a result.

That time – sorry, times – he criticised mental illness.

It’s estimated that one in three Australians suffer from anxiety. But if you ask Latham, that’s “fake news”.

An AFR column titled ‘Give Us Back Our Anxiety’, the former politician speculated that Australian doctors are over-diagnosing and over-medicating the illness.

“Anxiety used to be seen as a regular part of life – worrying about our children’s welfare, worrying about driving in the wet, worrying when your footy team is behind at half time – but now it has become a frontline heath condition; the medicalisation of normality.”

There have also been a number of @RealMarkLatham tweets on the subject, including this gem:

And this:

When someone commented on the latter, “How f***ing dare you! My daughter, who is driven and a high achiever, suffers from this debilitating illness. Shame on you,” Latham responded with two words.

“Prove it.”

Look, we could go on, but we’re needed back at inner city feminist headquarters.

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