After two extraordinary days in Australian history and politics – Julia Gillard is Prime Minister and Kevin Rudd is on the back bench – former Leader of the Labor Party Mark Latham spoke live and exclusively to Sky News Political Editor David Speers this morning on AM Agenda.
In a rare interview Mark Latham, who was famously defeated in the October 2004 Federal Election by then incumbent Prime Minister John Howard, discussed the downfall of Kevin Rudd and rise of Julia Gillard following the uncontested caucus ballot yesterday.
Launching a stinging attack on his former party, Latham said “It just proves in the Labor Party now, there is no loyalty to the leader, it’s a marketing exercise. It’s an attempt to milk some popularity, even if it’s only temporary, from the electorate.
“Win an election, keep them in power – it’s not about policy, values and ideology. It really is a transit lounge and the leadership has been turning over at a rapid pace.”
A warning to Julia Gillard to keep a careful eye on her new Deputy Leader: “Wayne Swan is no fan of hers… I don’t know what they did down there in the Victorian left in the ‘80s and ‘90s but they hate each other.
“At the moment Gillard’s popularity drops, as inevitably it will down the track, I suppose she’ll be the next one for the knife.
“Gillard ain’t no soccer mum, there may be a failure to connect there, but in the inner city (with) the hairy armpit mob; they’ll love it.”
Latham said he would have been very surprised if Rudd lost the next federal election. He described Gillard as a “very skilled political technician” and said he does not believe she was plotting against Rudd to become Prime Minister.
Sky News again dominated the ratings yesterday with more people tuning in to the extensive coverage of the history-making event that saw Julia Gillard became Australia’s first female Prime Minister, than any other program on FOXTEL.
A special encore presentation of Mark Latham’s full interview with David Speers will air at 9.30pm AEST on Sky News or watch the interview anytime on Sky News multiview.