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Even the fruits of victory would be Ashes in our mouth

Submitted by rickeyre on September 20, 2005 - 2:44pm

ANDREW DENTON: What are you going to do with the rest of your life?

MARK LATHAM: Well I'm very happy being a home dad and the arrangements we've got at home are fantastic so why change a winning formula?

ANDREW DENTON: When the boys are 16, 17, 18, when they're getting out of the house, what are you going to do?

MARK LATHAM: I'll be carrying their cricket bags...

[studio audience] LAUGHTER

MARK LATHAM: ...As they play for Australia and try and reclaim the Ashes.


MARK LATHAM: It may, it might take that long before we get them back you know so...

ANDREW DENTON: And when they're...

MARK LATHAM: I'm investing heavily in their cricket skills.

ANDREW DENTON: And when they're 22 and tell you to please bugger off dad, I want my own life, what are you going to do then?

MARK LATHAM: I'll watch them on tele...

- Mark Latham interviewed by Andrew Denton, Enough Rope, ABC-TV, first aired 15.9.05

A week is a long time. Period. As I sit down to start doing a post-mortem of the Ashes post-mortems, I shake my head at the cricketing analogies coming forth in some of the most bizarre places. (Latham, it should be recalled, became in 1980 the first cricketer in the history of the Sydney grade competition to be suspended for abusing an umpire. But that's not the reason why he's been in the headlines this past week.)

This post-Ashes paper rout is going to be a serialisation that will take me days. So be it. This is today's instalment.

Mark Latham isn't the only person who blames everyone else for failure under his leadership:

You would expect world leaders of the stature of George Bush and Ricky Ponting to understand that the buck ends with them, but track their recent performances and you realise, no.

- Barbara Toner, The buck stops somewhere else, The Guardian, 17.9.05

Mention of the buck stopping somewhere else brings up the master of that art, John Winston Howard. You could blame the Australian journalist for raising the following question five minutes into a press conference (Real Video) at the United Nations on September 14 concerning a round table discussion at the World Summit. The fact is that he loves the Australian media serving him up these powder-puff questions when they should be grilling him on his destructive doublespeak on UN matters.

FEMALE AUSTRALIAN JOURNALIST: Mr Howard, on another international matter, was Tony Blair in the meeting and did he give you any stick about the cricket?

JOHN HOWARD: No he didnt give me any stick and he sort of accepted my congratulations. He enjoyed every bit of it. He was very happy, he was very polite. He said the Australian team behaved as we would expect them to in a very gracious fashion, and he was very pleased and I dont blame him, they've waited a long time, and... can't really complain. He was good humoured about it. Just about every Prime Minister from a cricket-playing nation had something to say about it. It was the principal word of discussion. I was surrounded by the Caribbean representatives during the photograph and President Musharraf said last night that Pakistan was playing England soon and he would see that his team avenged Australia. So it was all very good-humoured and underlines the fact that it's been a wonderful series for the game and that's very important for those of us who love it so much.

(The transcription is mine. If anyone watching the video can ID the journalist in question I'd be grateful.)