I haven’t been able to sleep for days, ever since my citizenship has had a question mark next to it. There is no question mark anymore. It’s in place—in an answer in black and white, courtesy of an email sent by a bureaucrat sitting at his desk on a London afternoon.
Anyone who knows my father will be shocked to think of him as anything else than an Aussie. He loves his footy, and to this day he’s still heavily involved in his local country football club at Turners Beach in Tasmania. My dad believed my grandfather renounced his British citizenship years ago, but following the resignation of my former colleague and fellow Tasmanian, Stephen Parry, I knew I had to double-check. I received confirmation this morning that my grandfather hadn’t in fact renounced it. This makes my dad a Brit by descent and, therefore, it makes me one too.
It is with great regret that I inform the chamber and my colleagues of my resignation. I have been found to be ineligible by way of dual citizenship. I love my father to death and hope not to blame him for this. He has done nothing for which to apologise, and he has been my strongest supporter, my loudest cheer squad and my closest adviser. It’s not because of him that I’m leaving this place; it’s because of him that I’m here in the first place.
I’ve worked hard to be a voice for those who don’t often get much of a voice in this chamber. Veterans fight hard for this country and they shouldn’t have to fight their government when they get back. Politicians on both sides of the house talk about helping those on welfare, without ever actually having experienced what it’s like to choose between spending your welfare payment on either school uniforms or school lunches. The same politicians who spend their days making speeches and writing books about how they support Western civilisation don’t do a thing to support pensioners. Voters must look at their options in despair.
I’m proud of what I’ve achieved here: I’m proud that my vote secured more funding for Tasmanian schools; I’m proud to have secured a feasibility study into expanding hydro into Tasmania; and I’m proud to have won a fair pay deal for our Australian Defence Force. I’m proud to have been the single vote that torpedoed a savage package of welfare cuts. Unlike some in this place who say they are for the battler, I actually refused to deliver the budget into surplus by driving struggling families into further poverty. I’m also saddened that I didn’t get to achieve so much of what I was working to achieve; I couldn’t help everyone who needed my help. It’s my greatest disappointment in my time here.
I don’t know what will happen next, personally or politically, for me. The government may be tempted to use my absence as an opportunity. To do so would be a mistake, because while I may not be here, the Jacqui Lambie Network should still be represented, just as those who voted for the Jacqui Lambie Network deserve to have their votes represented. That’s why I want to let the position of the Jacqui Lambie Network regarding upcoming legislation be known. The Jacqui Lambie Network does not support the government’s agenda to strip away the power of workers to stick up for themselves. For that reason I’m indicating that for pairing purposes the Jacqui Lambie Network’s position should be taken to be that of the Leader of the Opposition on legislation relating to industrial relations, amendments to the Fair Work Act and changes to superannuation law and related procedural matters.
For pairing purposes, the Jacqui Lambie Network’s position should be taken to be that of the Leader of Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party on legislation relating to the drug testing of welfare recipients and placing those who fail drug tests onto a form of income management other than the cashless welfare card specifically. The Jacqui Lambie Network believes that the Medicare levy and the NDIS play an important role in protecting the most vulnerable in our society. The Jacqui Lambie Network’s pairing position on upcoming legislation and related procedural matters should be taken as that of the Leader of the Australian Greens. And the Jacqui Lambie Network’s position on the Regional Investment Corporation should be taken as that of the Leader of the Opposition.
Regarding changes to the Marriage Act, I have always maintained that the purpose of a plebiscite is to hear what the public wants. If we don’t listen to the public, the whole exercise has been needlessly indecisive, painful, expensive and extremely cruel. As such, the pairing of the Jacqui Lambie Network should be taken to be that expressed by the simple majority of Tasmanians as represented in the postal survey. Regarding upcoming legislation to introduce a First Home Super Saver Scheme, the position of the Jacqui Lambie Network for pairing purposes should be taken as that of the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Regarding the upcoming Veterans’ Affairs omnibus bill and related amendments, the position of the Jacqui Lambie Network for pairing purposes should be taken as that of the Leader of the Nick Xenophon Team.
Before I close, I would also like to thank my staff, who, at many times, have been my bloody saving grace, I’ll tell you. You’ve proven yourselves to be loyal. You are wonderful. You are hardworking. And I would never have got this far without you. If you need a reference make sure you come and see me, because I’m going to give you the best one you’ve ever had!
There’s so much more I wanted to do here, and I hope to get another chance to keep going at it. But the truth is: that’s not up to me. I don’t know what happens next. There’s a state election I’m focused on, and I’ll be helping my team do what they need to do to take the fight to some of the parties that have taken Tasmanians for granted. Beyond that, there’ll be more to say, but, for now, I just want to say thank you—thank you for giving me the opportunity to be in here. And I’ll tell you: you guys aren’t as bad as they all say, although I’ll keep telling them that! One day I do hope to be here. Actually, one day, I don’t really care which side it’s on, I do hope to come back, and, when I am back, I hope my dad’s here too, cheering me on, like he’s always been—my partner in crime. There’ll be no ding next time, but, until then, I’ll leave it to you. But, once again, thank you so much, and it’s been an absolute pleasure to represent my country again—just not, this time, in uniform. So thank you.
Chamber Senate on 14/11/2017 Item PARLIAMENTARY REPRESENTATION – Valedictory Speaker :Lambie, Sen Jacqui/ Parliment of Australia Transcript used for reporting news / Video Parliament of Australia Website