Mark Latham has again clashed with rebel frontbencher Stephen Conroy, less than 24 hours after the deputy Senate leader publicly pledged to stop waging a "jihad" against the leader.No doubt he kept his fingers crossed behind his back. A Hudna in his jihad.
In the second major showdown between the warring pair, Senator Conroy told a meeting of shadow cabinet yesterday he wasn't that sorry after all and claimed he had confessed to nothing.
As Sunday's orchestrated declaration of loyalty turned to farce, witnesses to the clash said Mr Latham appeared "puzzled".He really doesn't get it. His calling for a party meeting to "lance the boil" so soon was a high-risk, high-gain strategy, and showed that he knew a bit about political infighting. Senator Conroy's faux-apology appeared to be a distinct win for Mark Latham, who lost no time beating it up for all it was worth (and not-very-quietly preparing Bloody Revenge on his enemies). With Conroy's new "i didn't mean it", it makes Latham look like an Idiot.
Senator Conroy apologised amid claims that he was waging a campaign against Mr Latham's leadership and had described Latham mentor John Faulkner as a "Dr Frankenstein" who controlled the monster....by putting 20,000 volts through him, no doubt. To make him go "Voom". Here's what Australian Treasurer, Peter Costello had to say in Parliament:
In parliament, Peter Costello compared the ALP to a Monty Python comedy sketch.Finally, there's this about Senator Conroy :
And noting that Mr Latham had described his own Treasury spokesman as a rooster; that member for Lyons Dick Adams had labelled the party's environment spokesman, Anthony Albanese, a mangy dog; and that Kim Beazley's former chief of staff, Michael Costello, had called Mr Latham a dead parrot, the Treasurer declared the ALP an "animal farm".
Senior frontbenchers privately described Senator Conroy's behaviour as "erratic". One said his colleague was a "lunatic who had lost his marbles".Beware the Wrath of a Senator Scorned. He's willing to use every weapon in the political arsenal, regardless of "collateral damage". If only as a dreadful warning to others. Latham, being an easy target for demolition, is just a convenient victim. Oh Dear, How Sad, Never Mind.
Mr Ferguson, Labor's immigration spokesman, yesterday became the first ALP frontbencher to say publicly that Senator Conroy had confessed to destabilisation during a recent confrontation with Mr Latham.
Senator Conroy had a case of sour grapes, he suggested. "Quite frankly, he was shafted for that position by a number of his associates and I don't think he should take out that on the whole party."