Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Intelligence follies and Latham's new job

Scott Parkin's deportation from Australia was still managing to get media attention – though this was mainly due to John Faine, and at pretty much a local level through Faine's slot on ABC radio Melbourne 774 AM. All the same, the news is that the Inspector General of Intelligence will investigate ASIO's handling of Scott Parkin's case, and make a report to parliament.

After issues like Tampa, SIEV X and the misuse of intelligence to justify Howard's decision to take Australia to war in Iraq, I'm not confident we will get anything more than a whitewash. But at least it's kept the spotlight on Scott for that little bit longer. I'm reassured at least that now Julian Burnside QC is acting as Scott's barrister.

And all this attention despite the furor and feeding frenzy over Mark Latham's diaries. Since his appearance on Andrew Denton's Enough Rope was brought forward to avoid being scooped by another ABC TV show – the current affairs program Lateline – Latham has had a big stage on which to mouth off.

The media boils over in the scramble to cover Latham's 'expose' of the dirty politics of the ALP, the rubbishing that remaining ALP leaders are giving it, and the glee of Howard's government ministers at receiving their Christmas bonuses early this year – ALP blood on a dripping dagger.

In all the fun and games over the new book, I keep noticing one thing: Latham seems to be really enjoying 'just' being a 'home dad' – being home to actively raise his sons. Good on ya dad.

I've heard that journalists have asked Latham what he is 'really doing', what he 'plans to do next', whenever he insists that his main role now is to be 'home dad' (his words) – as if a man can't really opt to stay at home and care for his kids, that it must be just 'in-between' things, or that Latham is looking for something 'real' next – to rise from the ashes, as such. As I have said elsewhere, there are still cynics who doubt men who take the time and effort to father their children.

What can be more real than raising children?


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