News National Latham plays a winning hand, but won’t double dip

Latham plays a winning hand, but won’t double dip

Mark Latham will still be paid part of his federal parliamentary pension even if sitting in NSW parliament. Photo: AAP
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Mark Latham has long been dismissed as a circus act but his tilt for the NSW upper house is not likely to end in his enemies laughing.

He stands a good chance of picking up the seat and bringing his brand of caustic commentary and broken political relationships to NSW Parliament.

And he could emerge as a real player, with the government of the day forced to horse trade with him to secure the passage of legislation.

On every measure he is a smarter and more worldly player than Pauline Hanson.

Exhibit A: his decision to run for the NSW upper house, which he can win with a fraction of the votes he would have required in the Senate.

Latham will eat Hanson alive, but before the inevitable falling out he will likely secure a seat in Parliament.

It’s a sweet gig for the man who secured a taxpayer funded superannuation pension for life after he quit politics as a young man still in his 40s.

The only saving grace is Latham pledged on Wednesday he would not be double dipping by claiming both a parliamentary pension and a salary as an MP.

If he had secured another government job, he would have emerged as one of Australia’s rare double dippers being paid by taxpayers twice as he secures both a federal parliamentary pension and $165,000 a year as an MP.

But under the rules he will forgo his entire pension while he is in the NSW upper house.

Previously former MPs including Kim Beazley and Joe Hockey have claimed both a part pension and lucrative salaries as US ambassadors.

What he gets is an electoral allowance between $64,940 to $169,185.

Nice work if you can get it.