In a dull campaign, Mark Latham’s report on 60 Minutes was one of the more interesting. I know the media canned it. Before it aired, Laurie Oakes told us Latham had “crossed a line”. Nothing upsets journalists more than the idea that outsiders can do their job.
Who knows where that could end? The public might realise there is nothing special about the insights of political journalists - a group of people who consider themselves expert on something they have never done.
Then on former ABC host Maxine McKew:
Every so often a journalist chances their arm in real politics. Maxine McKew is one. Her underwhelming parliamentary career shows how much harder it is to do than it is to pontificate.
On Mark Latham and Julia Gillard:
We could write him off as a madman but let us remember that Labor convinced 5½ million Australians to vote for him to be prime minister two elections ago.
Julia Gillard declared “Mark Latham has made a real connection with Australians” and “Mark’s the one who is putting forward a vision for Australia”. She said “he’s got the capacity to govern”. I never agreed with Gillard about this. I never thought much of his judgment nor hers. If you want an example of Gillard’s judgment remember she believed Latham would make a good prime minister.
On Oakes and Gillard:
In an interview with Oakes on Sunday, Gillard stated “voting for me is voting for … a budget in surplus”. She claimed over and again that Abbott would cut the surplus. Never once did Oakes ask her which particular surplus she was imagining.
This Labor government has never delivered a surplus. Abbott’s task will not be to cut a surplus, but to cut the deficit - forecast by Treasury to be $40 billion this year.
On Gillard and Latham:
Gillard the warrior of the Victorian Socialist Left has now been recast as the stern ma’am of balanced budgets and cuts to company tax. You’d have to be madder than Latham to believe that is genuine.
I think Costello enjoyed writing that. Nice writing style, by the way.