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John Faulkner Launches “Loner”, New Book On Mark Latham

This is the text of a speech by Senator John Faulkner at the launch of Bernard Lagan’s book, “Loner”.

LonerThe book deals with Mark Latham’s leadership of the ALP, the 2004 federal election campaign and Latham’s departure from the leadership in January this year.

Faulkner has been a senator since 1989. He was a minister in the Keating government and a shadow minister until he stood down after last year’s election.

Faulkner argues that the ALP must learn the lessons of the 2004 election defeat but “it would be a very great shame if the only lesson Labor learned was to always play it safe”.

Faulkner says Lagan’s book “shows that Mark’s fatal flaw was not recklessness, not the risks that he took – in a way, it was the risks he refused to take.”

Of Latham, Faulkner says: “He was a loner, as the title of the book suggests. He would not take the chance of trusting those around him, and that hurt him, and Labor, badly. Mark played his cards close to his chest. He wouldn’t take even those staff and colleagues who should have been close to him into his confidence. To do so was a risk worth taking, and it should have been taken.” [Read more…]