Premier, PM condemn Latham’s ‘hateful speech’

Pauline Hanson condemns Latham tweet

NSW Premier Chris Minns has joined the condemnation of a now-deleted tweet from NSW One Nation leader Mark Latham as “vile and shameful”, saying the comments need to be unambiguously condemned.

“I think that they’re vile and shameful comments and I think [Mr Latham] revealed himself to be a bigot,” Mr Minns told the Lifeline International president’s lunch in Sydney on Friday.

It came amid a mystery about Mr Latham’s whereabouts. He is still yet to make any public comment since the tweet, posted on Thursday, in response to a news article about a violent protest outside a church where he spoke during the NSW 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.

“[The comments] have been directed at a member of parliament … who is extraordinarily effective and 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.”

Members of the LGBTQI community were two and a half times more likely to require urgent medical attention due to mental health conditions and deserve the support of political leaders, Mr Minns said.

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

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese also condemned the “hateful speech” from the former federal Labor leader on Friday.

“I am concerned that with social media we seem to have a circumstance whereby people would say things through various applications they’d never say to someone face to face and we know that can be very hurtful and it can have drastic consequences,” he told 10 News.

Mr Greenwich said the hurtful, “homophobic abuse” briefly brought him to tears on Thursday.

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

Since Thursday morning, Mr Latham has been widely condemned including by federal One Nation leader Pauline Hanson and conservative commentators Andrew Bolt and Ray Hadley.

Bolt said Mr Latham, a frequent guest on his Sky News show, would no longer be welcome.

“What was going through his mind I do not know. Latham seems to have a self-destruct button and it’s punching just far too often. Many former colleagues in Labor refuse to speak to him,” he said.

“Now this tweet, which I don’t think he’ll ever live down, he will be a pariah and not just here at Sky.”

Mr Greenwich said he did not want to waste his time on the now-deleted post and didn’t expect he’d receive an apology.

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

Last year, a review of the culture at NSW parliament found people with diverse backgrounds and sexualities were more likely to be bullied and harassed.

Mr Greenwich, the only openly gay lower house MP in NSW, said more work was needed in the parliament’s upcoming term. But he said he would not call on Mr Latham to resign and give him the opportunity to “pretend to be a victim when he seeks to victimise people”.

Mr Greenwich has prepared an omnibus LGBTQI bill, which he intends to introduce during this term of parliament, to remove discrimination from all areas of government.

Senator Hanson joined the chorus of criticism of her state leader on Thursday night, saying Mr Latham had not responded to her calls or a text asking him to issue a public apology.

On Friday morning, her office declined to say if it had heard from Mr Latham, saying any further response was “up to Mark Latham”.

Mr Greenwich dismissed Senator Hanson’s intervention as “empty words”, pointing to her recent motion in the Senate that “targeted the trans community”.

Mr Latham joined One Nation in 2018. He was voted in again to the upper house in last Saturday’s NSW election, giving the party three MPs in the 42-seat chamber.

He has been contacted for comment.

Lifeline 131 114

beyondblue 1300 224 636

-with AAP

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