News National Mark Latham resigns from AFR amid controversy

Mark Latham resigns from AFR amid controversy

Mark Latham
AAP
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Former Labor party leader Mark Latham has resigned from his role as an Australian Financial Review columnist.

A statement on the AFR website on Monday said Mr Latham had produced a “highly readable” column for the past eight years.

“He has been both loved and hated by readers – sometimes by the same ones at different times,” AFR editor Michael Stutchbury said.

“While I didn’t agree with everything Mark wrote, he has played a significant role in Australian public life and brought rare personal insight into his writing.”

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Mr Latham’s column was a constant source of controversy, particularly after he criticised Jeff Kennett’s “Beyond Blue empire” for over-diagnosing Australians with depression and anxiety.

Rosie Batty
Mr Latham accused Rosie Batty of using her son’s death to become a celebrity. Photo: AAP

Calling the diagnosis of mental illness a “fad”, Mr Latham criticised the Beyond Blue foundation’s “predatory instincts”.

In another column, Mr Latham called out former Australian of the Year Rosie Batty for “commercialising” her son’s death.

“How did Batty immerse herself in such company, wheeled out at business functions to retell the story of her son’s murder in February 2014?” he wrote.

“There was a time, in the dignity of working class life, when grieving was conducted in private.”

Mr Latham also drew controversy for the way he chose to write about transgender people, labelling Senior military officer Group Captain Catherine McGregor as a “he/she” and using her former name “Malcolm” or “Mal”.

Leaked emails showed Ms McGregor formally complaining to AFR partner Westpac, which runs the 100 Women of Influence initiative along with the masthead.

Mr Latham has also been accused of trolling a number of the same women he criticised in his column on a Twitter account with the handle “TheRealMarkLatham”.

The account has posted ideas from Mr Latham’s columns weeks before they were published, and announced that Mr Latham had been fired from the Financial Review before mainstream media had heard of the resignation.

A Buzzfeed article attempted to link the account with Mr Latham using the “find my friends” tool on Twitter to show the account had been set-up with Mr Latham’s actual AFR email address.

However, Twitter accounts do not need to have their emails verified in order to tweet.

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