Former Labor leader Mark Latham has been savaged as “sad and pathetic” after he teamed up with One Nation to smear Bill Shorten as a liar.
Mr Latham’s recording of a robocall for Pauline Hanson for the Longman by-election ahead of a potential political return with One Nation has sparked a bitter fallout.
“Mark Latham has become a pretty sad and pathetic figure,” Labor frontbencher Jim Chalmers told Sky News on Tuesday.
“I don’t think the people of Morayfield are sitting around their lounge rooms in Origin week waiting for instructions on who to vote for from Mark Latham.”
Mr Chalmers brushed off the attack on Mr Shorten, who he says has more “integrity in his little finger than Mark Latham has in his whole body.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop was quick to point out the irony of the man Labor previously wanted as prime minister calling Mr Shorten a liar.
“So, for the first time in a long time I agree with Mark Latham,” she told reporters in Canberra.
Mr Latham led Labor to defeat at the 2004 federal election and has since made a career as a controversial commentator.
On Monday night he would not rule out running for One Nation at the next federal election.
Liberal Democratic senator David Leyonhjelm said Mr Latham was a paid-up member of his party, but has not directly communicated with him since May.
“He’s still not sure that he wants to be a politician again. So that’s the threshold test,” Senator Leyonhjelm told AAP.
He took no issue with the robocalls or at the risk of potentially losing a star candidate to Senator Hanson.
“All he does is advocate a vote for minor parties,” Senator Leyonhjelm said.
The backlash for Mr Latham began on Monday night in a bitter spat with former ALP powerbroker Graham Richardson.
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The scuffle saw Mr Richardson, a minister in the Hawke and Keating governments, call Latham a “king rat”.
“It’s a tragedy and it’s sad, Mark,” Mr Richardson told Mr Latham on Sky News.
Senator Hanson said it would be fantastic to have Mr Latham beside her in parliament.
“I think someone of Mark’s knowledge, experience and willingness to speak against political correctness is much needed,” Senator Hanson said on Monday.
In the robocall, Mr Latham blamed Mr Shorten for causing the Longman by-election over his mishandling of the dual-citizenship embroglio.