Posted: 6:07 pm on 16th September 2013

moneyEmbattled former Labor member for Dobell, Craig Thomson, must be laughing after Saturday’s election.

So far, Mr Thomson, standing as an independent, has received around 3000 votes, which is about 4.0%. It is a far cry from the nearly 40 000 he received in 2010.

Nevertheless, he will be laughing all the way to the bank.

Changes to parliamentary entitlements in 2011 meant that, even though parliamentarians lost their taxpayer-funded superannuation, their redundancy payments jumped.

Under the new scheme, a parliamentarian who “retires involuntarily” (in the delicate jargon of the Remuneration Tribunal) is eligible for a ‘resettlement allowance’ of three months of their base salary. If they were a member for more than one full term, that allowance is doubled to six months of their base salary.

Involuntary retirement is defined as losing an election, or losing party endorsement for reasons other than misconduct and choosing not to re-contest the election.

Since Mr Thomson’s membership of the Labor party was revoked because of his misconduct, he would not qualify under the second limb of the test. He needed to stand for election again, despite facing certain defeat.

Having been defeated, he looks set to carry off six months of his base salary, which comes to around $95 000.

If he gets over 4.0% of the Dobell vote, he will also receive a payment of $2.47 per vote.

That brings Mr Thomson’s taxpayer-funded golden handshake to over $100 000.

Perhaps he can put that towards paying off his credit card bill…

William Shrubb, WasteWatch Intern

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