ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

Outspoken political outsider Mark Latham has been found on the stairs of his South Sydney home this morning, mere moments after he discovered the official flag of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

The external Australia territory is almost halfway between Broome and Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean and is predominantly Muslim. The flag is Islamic green, with a palm tree on a gold disc in the canton, a gold crescent in the centre of the flag and a gold southern cross in the fly.

Also, the Battle of Cocos was also one of the first firefights of the Great War.

On 9 November 1914, after the Australian light cruiser HMAS Sydney responded to an attack on a communications station at nearby Direction Island by the German light cruiser SMS Emden.

It is that fact that lead Latham to the discovery.

Neighbours of the 56-year-old told our reporters via telephone that they heard screams coming from the Latham household around 11 am this morning, followed by an ambulance arriving at the scene.

“He told us he was reading about the First World War when I saw him last,” said one local resident.

“We were putting the bins out on Thursday morning. It’s so strange, he seemed so full of life. It’s crazy how life can take such a turn.”

The former Labor leader was transported to hospital, leaving a police spokesman to front the growing media scrum outside the Mark Latham’s Outsiders studio in his garage.

“It’s too early on in our investigations to comment,” he said.

“However, we did discover the Flag of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands up on the screen of his computer when we attended his office a few minutes ago. We understand that people of Mark’s thinking would find seeing a Southern Cross and Cresent Moon quite distressing,”

“The hospital has said he regained consciousness a short time ago and is expected to make a full recovery. There will be no further comment at this time.”

More to come.



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