Lambie building future

Thursday, July 5, 2018

JACQUI Lambie admits it may take her another 12 months before she finds her feet as a Senator.

‘‘It has gone really quickly and I’m probably my biggest critic,’’ she said from her home in Burnie.

‘‘I know when I’ve done something wrong or my wording doesn’t quite come out like it’s supposed to.

‘‘It’s been a learning curve … I’m going to make mistakes, I’m human.

‘‘It’s just practice.’’

Lambie, a former Devonport High School student, was elected as a Tasmanian Senator at the 2013 federal election when she represented the Palmer United Party.

She officially took her seat last July and in November announced that she was quitting Clive Palmer’s party to become an independent.

‘‘I was spending so much wasted energy fighting with Clive Palmer all the time, I wasn’t doing the job I was supposed to be doing,’’ she said.

Since quitting the party, Senator Lambie, who has two adult sons, has decided to help give others the opportunity to get into politics by starting her own ‘‘network’’.

She expects to know by the end of the month whether her network – she doesn’t want to call it a party – is approved by the electoral commission.

She has heard from about 150 people so far who are interested in joining the JLN.

‘‘What I want to do is make sure the people I run are respectful and loyal and they have some honour about them,’’ she said.

‘‘They’ve got to be on their own feet. I’ll help them out, but they need to be independent and be able to put their own state first.’’

Senator Lambie said that if the name passed through the electoral commission, she would send out network application forms by the end of June, look through applications in July and have people out there by August.

She said she would like to have JLN representatives in each state and have them run for the Senate next year.

‘‘If I’m going to have people stand up to be in the Senate, I’d like to have them out about 12 months earlier so people can question them and states and territories can get used to who they are,’’ she said.

Polling analyst have already come out saying it would be hard for the network to win a Senate spot.

However, Senator Lambie said she wouldn’t let negative comments stop her from helping others.

‘‘They said I wouldn’t make the Senate either, so we’ll see how they go,’’ she said.

Senator Lambie said she hadn’t heard anything more from Clive Palmer regarding his plan to sue her for $2 million for using his money to get elected into the Senate since receiving a letter last month.

Top priorities for Senator Lambie this year include trying to get $400 million for the University of Tasmania restructure and trying to push forward the $203 million for the Freight Equalisation Scheme expansion to come through on July 1, rather than January 1.

Her network policies also include opposing sharia law and establishing a national apprentice trade and traineeship system incorporating both the Australian Defence Force and TAFE.

Getting renewable energy targets sorted is still high on her agenda, as is being a strong advocate for defence force personnel.

Senator Lambie left the state on Wednesday to walk the Kokoda Track with about 40 other veterans.

During the trek, she will video other veterans to get their stories out.

Her hope is to release the footage in a documentary,

‘‘(Veterans) are struggling with their illnesses and they’re not getting the help they need,’’ she said.

‘‘When you’ve already got (physiological) issues and you’re fighting against a bureaucratic department that’s not giving you any room to move, it’s compounding those issues.’’

It was Senator Lambie’s own struggle with Veteran Affairs that got her into politics. She suffered a back injury that forced her to leave the Australian Defence Force in 2000. She underwent a back operation last month.

Senator Lambie said a normal day for her included getting up at 6am, usually going for a walk first thing, before starting work at 8am. When she was in Canberra, she usually wouldn’t finish until about 10.30pm, because as an independent ‘‘you’ve got to read everything’’.

Jacqui Lambie has decided to help give others the opportunity to get into politics by starting her own ‘‘network’’. Picture: GEOFF ROBSON

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