Two of the most corrosive men in politics spit venom at each other on Sky.
Two of the most corrosive men in politics spit venom at each other on Sky.

Here’s why people are off politics

ANYONE who thought we are missing out when it comes to the loud and colourful political drama seen in and around the presidency of Donald Trump should go on the internet and look at Labor types Graham Richardson and Mark Latham going toe to toe.

Richardson, who's still a member of the ALP, took his seat on the seat of Sky's Paul Murray Live on Monday and joined in a discussion featuring former federal Labor leader Latham and One Nation president for life Pauline Hanson.

Latham is no longer a member of the ALP, having been booted out by the New South Wales branch in May last year when he announced he was joining David Leyonhjelm's Liberal Democrats.

NSW Labor passed a motion saying if Latham ever sought to rejoin the party he'd be rejected automatically. For a few days after that every Labor figure who passed a microphone slammed and abused Latham.

However, this was nothing compared with Richo and Latham.

Richardson said it was a "tragedy" Latham, who'd once been a close researcher for Labor hero Gough Whitlam, had turned on his old party and was doing robo calls for Hanson in the exurban Brisbane seat of Longman, saying current leader Bill Shorten "just lies".

"The party that built you, the party that made you … the people of Green Valley (the western suburbs Sydney neighbour where Latham grew up) where they contributed to you when you were going to university - they would be rolling in their graves or shaking their heads if still alive," Richardson said.

"It is a tragedy and it is sad Mark."

Graham Richardson with now jailed NSW MP Eddie Obeid at an ALP fundraiser dinner in Sydney.
Graham Richardson with now jailed NSW MP Eddie Obeid at an ALP fundraiser dinner in Sydney.

Latham hit back, recycling old smears against Richardson such as the claim he'd had a Swiss bank account, taking "blood money" from convicted murderer Ron Medich (for whom Richardson worked as a lobbyist) and putting Eddie Obeid (jailed for corruption) into Parliament.

It was all water off a couple of old ducks' backs. Latham and Richardson have no shame and cannot be shamed.

They are alpha males who can bully and intimidate, who easily resort to invective and insult and who have been down some of the sleazier alleyways of NSW Labor politics.

Their Sky conversation trailed off with some A grade insults.

"What a load of rubbish, what a load of rubbish," Richardson in response to Latham's spray.

"I'm not taking lectures from you," Latham replied. "Don't you tell me what's sad."

"When it comes to being a shyster, don't you ever lecture me on personal behaviour," Richardson shot back. "You're not just a rat, You're a king rat. I'll tell you something about king rats, it's not that case that everybody else changed and pure Mark Latham stays the same. That's what you love to claim."

Richardson and Latham were not just providing entertainment to the people who watch Sky at night. They were also reminding us yet again why people are turned off big party politics.

The nasty, negative streak that is now entrenched in so-called mainstream politics is getting worse.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, playing against the image almost all Australians have of him (and do not comprehend or appreciate), goes out day after day accusing Shorten of telling lies.

Latham takes his cue from Turnbull and declares Shorten tells lies again and again in his recorded phone message for besieged Longman voters

One of the most extraordinary things from this is watching Coalition MPs embracing Latham as a credible voice in Australian politics.

However, the corrosive impact Latham and Richardson have had on politics over the years goes much deeper.

Richardson gave permission to a generation of young Labor operatives to act with no regard for principle or values.

Mark Latham cosies up to alt-right troll Milo Yiannopoulos. (Pic: Nathan Richter/Milo
Mark Latham cosies up to alt-right troll Milo Yiannopoulos. (Pic: Nathan Richter/Milo

His Whatever It Takes memoir became a "how to" book for these staffers and branch workers - justifying any activity or behaviour. The recruitment and promotion of corrupt MPs like Obeid and former state Labor minister Ian Macdonald - both jailed after Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiries.

Meanwhile Latham trashed Labor's brand after he made his bizarre exit from the party's leadership following a devastating loss to John Howard in 2004.

A tell-all memoir sprayed just about all of his colleagues and he later used Twitter to unleash on a long list of prominent Australian women including Australian of the Year and domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty.

Latham's modus operandi is to shock with personal abuse and foul language. He has been sacked as a columnist from a range of newspapers and been dumped by a range of TV shows.

He has most recently resorted to filming Facebook shows in his garage and narrowcasting them.