Mark Latham issues defiant tweet after being labelled a bigot

Mark Latham, who was leader of One Nation in NSW, says he can no longer represent the party.

Mark Latham, who was leader of One Nation in NSW, says he can no longer represent the party. Photo: AAP

One Nation MP Mark Latham has broken his silence after sparking outrage with a graphic homophobic tweet.

Mr Latham on Friday night tweeted a link to an article with the defiant headline ‘Never apologise, never explain’.

It was subheaded: “A new study from Columbia University suggests that public figures who apologise are more likely to (be) seen as needing punishment”.

His response followed widespread condemnation, including NSW Premier Chris Minns labelling him a “bigot”, for a homophopic tweet aimed at independent MP Alex Greenwich.

Mr Latham had posted the controversial tweet on Thursday in response to a news article about a violent protest outside a church he spoke at during the state election campaign.

In the article, independent MP Alex Greenwich branded Mr Latham a “disgusting human being” who posed a risk to the state.

“Disgusting?” Mr Latham wrote before making a graphic and homophobic description of sex acts.

Mr Latham later deleted the tweet, but its content invited broad criticism, including from the federal leader of One Nation, Pauline Hanson, and conservative commentators Ray Hadley and Andrew Bolt.

“I think that they’re vile and shameful comments and I think (Mr Latham) revealed himself to be a bigot,” the premier said at the Lifeline International President’s Lunch in Sydney on Friday.

Mr Greenwich was an “extraordinarily effective” politician who “manages to elevate the conversation and make major changes in the state,” Mr Minns said.

“One of the things that can’t be forgotten is that comments like this, even though in and of themselves they’re terrible, they unleash ghouls on people like Alex.

“It’s not what we need in public life.

“There should be an unambiguous and universal condemnation of these comments,” he said.

The tweet was also called disgusting by Transport Minister Jo Haylen, who said she did not think the NSW One Nation leader was up to his job.

“Of course he should apologise but it’s Mark Latham. I don’t think anyone should be holding their breath.

“Personally I don’t think he is fit for public office.”

The homophobic attack briefly brought Mr Greenwich to tears on Thursday, the popular Sydney MP told reporters.

“This has obviously been hurtful for me. I had a bit of a cry late yesterday at the end of the day,” he told reporters on Friday.

“After being in this gig for a decade and getting re-elected, I didn’t think I’d still be subjected to homophobic abuse.”

However, Mr Greenwich refused to call for Mr Latham to apologise or resign.

“I don’t want to give him another soapbox for him to pretend to be a victim when he seeks to victimise people.”

Mr Greenwich expressed concern on Friday that no one had heard from the upper house MP for 24 hours and “at a very human level, I hope he’s OK”.


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