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.”
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.