Well, it’ll be an interesting day in Canberra tomorrow when the ALP Shadow Cabinet meets. Mark Latham, who increasingly finds himself subject to leadership destabilisation, has taken the bit between his teeth and vowed to discipline Senator Stephen Conroy, the Labor Senate Deputy Leader, who apparently descibed John Faulkner as “Dr Frankenstein”, and is generally seen as a covert opponent of Latham’s hold on the leadership. Michelle Grattan picks the stakes of this fight well:
For Latham, there is always the risk that a move against Conroy could escalate dramatically and end goodness knows where. What would happen if there was a formal vote to spill one position and it failed? It seems inconceivable but we are in uncharted territory.
The Dr Hewson analogy is increasingly popular in the press, and Peter Costello contributes some thoughts on roosters and parrots.
Lindsay Tanner, an ommission from the recent listing of potential leadership contenders, argues that evidence has to be produced of Conroy’s wrongdoing, but appears open to considering such evidence if it surfaces.
And unnamed Labor MPs have their say:
One MP said if Mr Latham wanted to dump Senator Conroy he must detail the charges and evidence against him. “If it is for talking to the media, then nearly the whole caucus will be found guilty.”
Another said: “Mark Latham wrote the instruction manual on disloyalty and now complains people have read it.”
It looks like Latho is playing the ultimate crash-through or crash gambit. A number of reports in the last few days seemed to indicate that he’d be prepared to walk away from the leadership if a Crean scenario re-ignited (as it appears to have done). Caucus meets on Tuesday. Remember, if Latho is home by Christmas, you read it first here at Troppo.
UPDATE: Stephen Conroy has given Latho a loyalty pledge, putting this issue to rest, for the moment at least.
ELSEWHERE: The right-wing but thoughtful blogger The Currency Lad is quick to make the Doc Evatt comparison. Not so sure about his Stalin analogy, though. But if Latho’s campaign resembled anything in electoral history, it was the Doc’s in 54.