The decline of Mark Latham

If ever the Simpsons meme ‘Old man yells at cloud’ could be used appropriately, it is in relation to former Labor leader Mark Latham. His relentless online trolling of women via his previously anonymous Twitter page @RealMarkLatham, as well as his deliberately provocative opinion pieces for the Australian Financial Review could be viewed as a last resort of a man fast running out of public relevance. His resignation from the AFR in this sense comes as no surprise.

However, Latham is not new to controversy. View The City Journal’s brief timeline of the events which have shaped Latham’s public image.

January 7, 2001: The taxi driver affair

Latham was reportedly engaged in a scuffle with a Sydney taxi driver over a fare dispute. Accusations were Latham broke the driver’s arm during the fight.

October 8, 2004: The handshake

Days out from the 2004 election, the then-leader of the opposition was seen aggressively shaking Prime Minister John Howard’s hand at a Sydney radio station.  

January 19, 2006:  The Hungry Jack’s incident

While eating at a Hungry Jack’s restaurant in Sydney with his two sons, Latham had an altercation with a photographer. Latham broke the News Ltd photographer’s camera and accused him of being a ‘pedophile’ for photographing his children. Latham later was forced to pay more than $6,000 in damages.

August 2010: On the election campaign for 60 Minutes

While working for Channel 9’s 60 Minutes program during the 2010 election campaign, Latham had a run-in with then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard, as well as criticising veteran journalist Laurie Oakes.  He also advised voters to enter a blank ballot at the upcoming election.

August 2013: Fiona Scott comments on 3AW

After Prime Minister Tony Abbott controversially referred to Liberal candidate Fiona Scott as having ‘sex appeal’, Latham appeared on 3AW’s drive program with Tom Elliot. Latham questioned the prime minister’s judgement, saying, “She’s a rather plain looking woman and Abbott has exaggerated massively.”

2015: Australian Financial Review articles

Through his regular column for Fairfax Media’s Australian Financial Review, Latham attacked a number of high profile women including Australian of the Year Rosie Batty and well-known transgender spokeswoman Catherine McGregor. These were on top of criticisms he had made of Indigenous footballer Adam Goodes.

August 2015: @RealMarkLatham

The Twitter account had been repeatedly trolling women in the Australian media such as Annabel Crabb, Leigh Sales and Lisa Wilkinson, and hitting out at “bourgeois left feminists”.

Buzzfeed Australia claimed this week they had proven the account was run by Latham himself, after they discovered it was linked to his email. While Latham has left the AFR, he has not publicly stated the account was his own.


About the author

Brendan Wrigley