2 December 2003

Latham wins Labor leadership

Mark Latham is the new leader of the federal Labor Party after defeating Kim Beazley in a ballot this morning.

Mr Latham won the contest narrowly, attracting 47 votes compared to Mr Beazley's 45 votes.

I'm astonished, but pleased. I'd expected Beazley by a wider margin. I'd have blogged this contest more but the process is so secretive, stately and wrong that getting excited about it is impossible. At least they have black and white smoke to break the tedium in St Peter's Square, the two elections are otherwise identical.

I'd expect Latham to do well if he can keep himself from frightening the horses. The palpable sense of a major break of the frightened leadership that followed Paul Keating is like breathing fresh air. People complain about Latham's presentation, but we've had larrikin prime ministers before and we might have another one in the near future.

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