Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen has roasted wannabe social media star Mark Latham after a series of Facebook videos where Latham, a former Labor leader, asked migrants whether they spoke English.
Latham launched his own Facebook page after he was sacked as a political commentator for Sky News, following comments about a teen boy's sexuality.
In the last few weeks Latham has made two videos in Bowen's Sydney electorate of McMahon, which involved asking people whether they speak English.
Latham repeatedly said Bowen was a "disgrace" and suggested the lack of English skills exhibited by people Latham approached showed that multiculturalism had failed.
Speaking to BuzzFeed Australia's political podcast Is It On?, Bowen absolutely unloaded on Latham.
Bowen said migrants and refugees contribute more to Australia than the man who led Labor to defeat at the 2004 federal election:
Every new ethnic community has put up with this.
Italians didn’t speak English when they first came to Australia. Poles, Greeks, the people from the former Yugoslavia, they all worked and they worked their guts out and their kids have done well at school. Same with the Vietnamese in the 80s who now top the HSC in subjects – their parents have put up with the insults of not speaking English.
... you’ve got Mark Latham, who comes out and shoves a microphone in your face and says, "I want to talk to you". These poor people have got no idea who this joker is, and their English might not be perfect, but they certainly don’t feel comfortable doing TV interviews with someone who has just accosted them in the street. It’s all pretty silly really.
He’s started this new website, I suppose he can’t sack himself. He’s been sacked from everywhere else, so good luck to him if he feels that’s what he wants to do. Don’t attack good hard working communities as you go through it.
Yeah, newsflash, if you’re a refugee from war-torn Syria you might not speak English as soon as you get here, that’s true. If that’s the best you can do, is to pick on refugees and migrants to Australia, Mark Latham, that says more about you than it does about them. They're going to be great Australians and they’ll contribute a lot, which is more than you can say for Mark Latham’s productivity rate in recent months and years.
Mark Di Stefano is a political editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.
Contact Mark Di Stefano at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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