Will Mark Latham be any better?


I’ve just seen the premiere of TimeToGoJohn, a rather hurried but passionately packaged attempt by a group of Aussie filmmakers to sway even more voters against re-electing Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

It seems that Howard has overstayed his welcome, and it’s now become the accepted Aussie backlash by those who feel cheated by his lies and his often overt hypocrisy. It comes as no surprise that lies and hypocrisy seem to be synonymous with politics. So one has to ask, will Mark Latham be any better?

Call me whatever you like, but I doubt he will … be better, that is …

History has overwhelmingly documented and fortified the old adage that ‘power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely’! It’s now being predicted Latham is a shoe-in, but I wonder how long it will be before Latham falls from grace. Latham by his own admission is ‘in his prime’, and has been taught by his wife and children to ‘become a better man’. I am waiting for the digital TV experience allowing for touch-of-a-button interactive bucket dispensing. Okay I hate Howard, but I don’t like Latham either!

Latham strikes me as a bloke whose ambition in life has been to climb up the ranks and prove a point. Isn’t that what we all want – a working class hero who understands the length and breadth of the populace and our Australian psyche? A man from Green Acres (sorry, I mean Valley), and knows what it’s like to pay a huge mortgage.

I don’t know if anyone else feels like me, but I feel like saying it…I must confess to a touch of ‘here we go again’ trepidation. Perhaps instead of bolstering our two-party system, we should really begin to try and dismantle it completely. There’s pretty much NO choice, and the only alternative – apart from voting for either party – is to keep the boys on their toes and go with the Greens. Like that’s meant to help us all sleep at night! Now instead of looking forward to bills and legislation being passed without debate, we can look forward to even more back room manoeuvrings, jostling for power and publicly funded junkets.

Everyone wants to be on the winner’s bandwagon. And whoever packaged up Medicare Gold will probably be rewarded by a nice front row seat (somewhere). It certainly seems to get the pollies the best seats at footie matches, so why not!! Now in my prime, I can look forward to being sent-off to a nursing home at 75 (whether I like it or not) where my old age moans and groans won’t annoy anyone. Some reward, huh??

And while we all try and make sense of who will be the better man; we become more and more oblivious to the struggles of the world and the anguish of our fellow human beings. I simply didn’t know what to say when Amnesty rang me recently to inform me of the situation for women in Sudan. Another tragedy – who knew! Okay so what can I do, make another contribution to ease my guilt? Perhaps I should spend the night ringing round the people I know and urge them to get involved? Fat chance anyone will care!

We’re not in dire straits because we don’t know whether to vote Labor or Liberal. We’re in dire straits because of our own need for self-enrichment and self-aggrandisement. As Johnny Cash said, ‘I walk the line’ and it’s a bloody thin one at that! So instead of urging anyone to vote either way, I’d rather ask people to confront the realities of any real political life and vision in Australia.

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.