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Lonesome Lambie

By Mike Jeffreys - 26 November 2014 11

jackie-lambie

On Paul Murray Live Sunday night we were discussing the imminent departure of Jacqui Lambie from the Palmer United Party.

Janine Perrett was hosting, because the eponymous host was on a study tour in Abu Dhabi where he was examining local hotel architecture and the F 1.

Janine said – voicing the complaint of many – that the Lambie saga was a soap opera, that we knew Ms Lambie would resign, but first she would talk about considering her resignation, then resign, then talk about it some more.

My contribution was to compare this with the approach favoured by one of the old time movie moguls who supposedly instructed his writers “Tell ‘em you’re going to tell ‘em, tell ‘em, then tell ‘em you’ve told ‘em”.

Recounting this later with a friend who is more into movies than politics, I mentioned that Ms Perrett also thought Opposition Leader Bill Shorten had made a mighty peculiar comment when he said at a press conference Jacqui Lambie had been subjected to an “intense amount of personal pressure and bullying” from the Government last week.

My friend’s response was “Jacqui Lambie is the government”.

Interesting if this is a representative view.

Now that Ms Lambie has told us what she was going to tell us and is telling us why, will average folks who don’t take too much interest expect more from her or increasingly just view her as a loose cannon (no military pun intended)?

Fairfax quoted Senator Nick Xenophon as saying “All that has happened now is that there’s going to be a more fluid situation in the Senate.”
Well, yes…

IMHO Ms Lambie probably has the support of the folks with her position on a better pay deal for members of the ADF.

But that’s not something which her minders will be able to point to over and over again to highlight her well meaning nature and essentially good intentions every time the government’s plans are thwarted.

Even people like my friend who don’t take much interest are likely to eventually form the opinion  she’s more professional contrarian than concerned citizen.

Yes, she was chafing in her role as a member of a party, but that’s the deal: if you get in with a party, you’re supposed to vote along agreed party lines.

Ms Lambie is now the latest Australian politician who managed to get elected as a member of a political party, but now that she’s there has decided she doesn’t play well with others and wants to go it alone for the duration of her term.

At the very least, any politician who does what she’s just done should face a by-election to determine whether she really does have the support of the electorate.

What’s Your opinion?


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11 Responses to
Lonesome Lambie
Vindalu 6:45 pm 29 Nov 14

Justin Heywood – I like the cut of your jib! Now free beer, that’s a winner! I’m into free public transport as a political platform,. Perhaps we could make it free beer on free public transport! On a train bound for nowhere.

dungfungus 9:44 pm 26 Nov 14

watto23 said :

justin heywood said :

dungfungus said :

She was elected with about 1500 primary votes. .

Bloody hell, I think I could just about rustle up that many votes if I stood on a street corner promising free beer.

Lambie spent eleven years in the army, where she ‘rose’ to the rank of corporal. She appears to have spent her time since then fighting to get a disability pension. This is not the CV of a leader, much less someone who should have power in the Federal sphere.

I think Lambie raises two issues:

1. The ‘balance of power’ issue distorts democracy. Why should minor parties and individuals be able to determine policy even though they received only a small percentage of the vote? No-one could reasonably argue that it’s fair
Perhaps Lambie (and PUP generally) might finally be the catalyst needed for some reforms to reduce their power.

2. The quality of our politicians. The current system is not attracting people of talent, so something has to change.
Either pay them a lot more or pay them the basic wage. That way we’ll either get the ambitious or the dreamers, not the untalented apparatchiks we’ve generally got now.

Problem with paying them more is they spend most of the time now, making sure they get re-elected. I don’t think the majority of them deserve what they get paid, let along the benefits they also get. I like the fact that people like Jacqui Lambie can get elected. Just wish it was someone with intelligence.

The main issue with the balance of power is that neither major party are willing to concede on anything, so them negotiating with each other is pointless. When they agree, balance of power is worthless. I’d like it if say Labor said we’ll pass one of your bills if you drop another proposal, or something like that. Why not, we’ll pass the GP co payment if you keep the carbon tax or something like that. But neither party will negotiate they are stubborn and ideologically driven.

Australia would be an awful place if the Libs or Labor could pass all their legislation without hindrance. There would be no balance and it would lurch from left to right every election probably.

” I like the fact that people like Jacqui Lambie can get elected. Just wish it was someone with intelligence.”
Then she wouldn’t be like Jacqui Lambie.
You didn’t think that one over very well did you.

dungfungus 9:42 pm 26 Nov 14

HiddenDragon said :

Perhaps the Government should offer to make her President of the Senate.

She could use the extra money it pays.

HiddenDragon 6:01 pm 26 Nov 14

Perhaps the Government should offer to make her President of the Senate.

watto23 4:59 pm 26 Nov 14

justin heywood said :

dungfungus said :

She was elected with about 1500 primary votes. .

Bloody hell, I think I could just about rustle up that many votes if I stood on a street corner promising free beer.

Lambie spent eleven years in the army, where she ‘rose’ to the rank of corporal. She appears to have spent her time since then fighting to get a disability pension. This is not the CV of a leader, much less someone who should have power in the Federal sphere.

I think Lambie raises two issues:

1. The ‘balance of power’ issue distorts democracy. Why should minor parties and individuals be able to determine policy even though they received only a small percentage of the vote? No-one could reasonably argue that it’s fair
Perhaps Lambie (and PUP generally) might finally be the catalyst needed for some reforms to reduce their power.

2. The quality of our politicians. The current system is not attracting people of talent, so something has to change.
Either pay them a lot more or pay them the basic wage. That way we’ll either get the ambitious or the dreamers, not the untalented apparatchiks we’ve generally got now.

Problem with paying them more is they spend most of the time now, making sure they get re-elected. I don’t think the majority of them deserve what they get paid, let along the benefits they also get. I like the fact that people like Jacqui Lambie can get elected. Just wish it was someone with intelligence.

The main issue with the balance of power is that neither major party are willing to concede on anything, so them negotiating with each other is pointless. When they agree, balance of power is worthless. I’d like it if say Labor said we’ll pass one of your bills if you drop another proposal, or something like that. Why not, we’ll pass the GP co payment if you keep the carbon tax or something like that. But neither party will negotiate they are stubborn and ideologically driven.

Australia would be an awful place if the Libs or Labor could pass all their legislation without hindrance. There would be no balance and it would lurch from left to right every election probably.

watto23 4:53 pm 26 Nov 14

dungfungus said :

She was elected with about 1500 primary votes. The skeletons in her closet will see her out of the Senate very soon.
Is the situation in Tasmania the same as in the ACT namely a by-election will be required?
I would think Palmer should have the right to nominate anyone to fill her seat same a Labor did with Carr replacing Arbib.

Senate is for 6 years in the 6 states. They have 12 senators and 6 get elected each time. Exception to this is a double dissolution election, however a double dissolution election means a quota to get elected in a state is now less than 10% most of which flows from preferences.

In the ACT and NT the senate is for 3 year terms and get elected each election.

justin heywood 2:22 pm 26 Nov 14

dungfungus said :

She was elected with about 1500 primary votes. .

Bloody hell, I think I could just about rustle up that many votes if I stood on a street corner promising free beer.

Lambie spent eleven years in the army, where she ‘rose’ to the rank of corporal. She appears to have spent her time since then fighting to get a disability pension. This is not the CV of a leader, much less someone who should have power in the Federal sphere.

I think Lambie raises two issues:

1. The ‘balance of power’ issue distorts democracy. Why should minor parties and individuals be able to determine policy even though they received only a small percentage of the vote? No-one could reasonably argue that it’s fair
Perhaps Lambie (and PUP generally) might finally be the catalyst needed for some reforms to reduce their power.

2. The quality of our politicians. The current system is not attracting people of talent, so something has to change.
Either pay them a lot more or pay them the basic wage. That way we’ll either get the ambitious or the dreamers, not the untalented apparatchiks we’ve generally got now.

Maya123 2:01 pm 26 Nov 14

Garfield said :

It comes down to where politicians’ loyalties lie – to the electorate ahead of the party or to the party ahead of the electorate. With PUP only being formed a short period before the election and having massive holes in its policy platform I’m not that surprised to see one of its senators decide that her electorate comes first and leave the party. From what I’ve read elsewhere it also seems that Clive was told that she didn’t fit into the middle of the road position that he wanted PUP to take but he decided to keep her anyway.

It’s also a good reminder to voters that we vote for individuals, not parties and so will hopefully encourage people to look more closely at the candidates they give their votes to. Even in well established parties there can be quite big differences in individual candidate beliefs with, broadly speaking, Liberals being socially conservative (right wing) or moderate (centre-right), Labor being divided into its left and right (centre-left) factions and the Greens having their environmentalists and far left wing socialists. In most parts of the country the parties are able to impose their choice of candidate on the electorate, but in the ACT the voters get to choose thanks to our multi member electorates.

“in the ACT the voters get to choose thanks to our multi member electorates.”

Which are about to be reduced to five member electorates, making it less representative of the broader community. A single electorate with a similar electoral system to now, would better represent the electorate. However this doesn’t suit the Labor and Liberal parties.

Garfield 12:32 pm 26 Nov 14

It comes down to where politicians’ loyalties lie – to the electorate ahead of the party or to the party ahead of the electorate. With PUP only being formed a short period before the election and having massive holes in its policy platform I’m not that surprised to see one of its senators decide that her electorate comes first and leave the party. From what I’ve read elsewhere it also seems that Clive was told that she didn’t fit into the middle of the road position that he wanted PUP to take but he decided to keep her anyway.

It’s also a good reminder to voters that we vote for individuals, not parties and so will hopefully encourage people to look more closely at the candidates they give their votes to. Even in well established parties there can be quite big differences in individual candidate beliefs with, broadly speaking, Liberals being socially conservative (right wing) or moderate (centre-right), Labor being divided into its left and right (centre-left) factions and the Greens having their environmentalists and far left wing socialists. In most parts of the country the parties are able to impose their choice of candidate on the electorate, but in the ACT the voters get to choose thanks to our multi member electorates.

dungfungus 11:36 am 26 Nov 14

watto23 said :

Its a peculiarity of the system, because lets face it, she go it on preferences for PUP. What is to stop a future senator really wanting to be independent, but getting in via a party first.. Yes it has happened in other states where ex Coalition senators went independant.

Prior to the previous election Bob Carr got parachuted into a seat, but that was because a sitting labor member resigned. So in this instance why can’t PUP refill the seat they lost just because one of their members disagrees. As much as I’m not a PUP voter, Jacqui Lambie while being open and add some interest to politics in some ways is also a menace to society with her lack of knowledge on just about everything she talks about. Still she joined the party, got elected due to that allegiance and should either stick with it, or resign.

At the very least she should relinquish her right to a full 6 year term and have to face re-election at the next election as an independent.

She was elected with about 1500 primary votes. The skeletons in her closet will see her out of the Senate very soon.
Is the situation in Tasmania the same as in the ACT namely a by-election will be required?
I would think Palmer should have the right to nominate anyone to fill her seat same a Labor did with Carr replacing Arbib.

watto23 11:18 am 26 Nov 14

Its a peculiarity of the system, because lets face it, she go it on preferences for PUP. What is to stop a future senator really wanting to be independent, but getting in via a party first.. Yes it has happened in other states where ex Coalition senators went independant.

Prior to the previous election Bob Carr got parachuted into a seat, but that was because a sitting labor member resigned. So in this instance why can’t PUP refill the seat they lost just because one of their members disagrees. As much as I’m not a PUP voter, Jacqui Lambie while being open and add some interest to politics in some ways is also a menace to society with her lack of knowledge on just about everything she talks about. Still she joined the party, got elected due to that allegiance and should either stick with it, or resign.

At the very least she should relinquish her right to a full 6 year term and have to face re-election at the next election as an independent.

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