Yet an­other Tas­ma­nian senator caught in cit­i­zen­ship clean-out

Mercury (Hobart) - - FRONT PAGE - NICK CLARK Fed­eral Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor

TAS­MA­NIAN in­de­pen­dent senator Jac­qui Lam­bie ex­pects to re­sign to­day af­ter dis­cov­er­ing she could hold Bri­tish cit­i­zen­ship through her Scot­tish-born fa­ther.

Senator Lam­bie has told col­leagues in Can­berra she ex­pected the Bri­tish Home Of­fice would con­firm her sta­tus to­day.

She told the Mer­cury yes­ter­day: “If I am a dual cit­i­zen I will re­sign, if it is black and white there is no need to take it to the High Court, as sim­ple as that.”

Senator Lam­bie re­jected sug­ges­tions she might con­test the state elec­tion in March. But sources are spec­u­lat­ing she could stand if a by­elec­tion was called in Brad­don as a re­sult of La­bor MP Jus­tine Keay’s dual-cit­i­zen­ship prob­lem.

If she does re­sign, Senator Lam­bie would be re­placed in the Se­nate by Devon­port Mayor Steve Martin — who was num­ber two on the Jac­qui Lam­bie Net­work ticket at the elec­tion last year.

TAS­MA­NIAN senator Jac­qui Lam­bie is set to re­sign as soon as to­day when she re­ceives ad­vice from the Bri­tish Home Of­fice about her cit­i­zen­ship sta­tus.

Last week the out­spo­ken senator re­vealed she could have dual Bri­tish-Aus­tralian cit­i­zen­ship through her Scot­tish-born fa­ther who came to Aus­tralia as an in­fant.

“If I am a dual cit­i­zen I will re­sign, if it is black and white there is no need to take it to the High Court, as sim­ple as that,” she said yes­ter­day.

It is un­der­stood Senator Lam­bie yes­ter­day told sen­a­tors in Can­berra she was still await­ing in­for­ma­tion but was likely to re­sign this week.

In a re­count, she would be re­placed by Devon­port Mayor Steve Martin who was num­ber two on the Jac­qui Lam­bie Net­work ticket in the 2016 elec­tion.

Senator Lam­bie told the Mer­cury if she re­signed she would not look at stand­ing for Brad­don in the state elec­tion be­cause the state team was full.

“As I am the chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the JLN, I will be work­ing on that along­side the state can­di­dates,” she said.

Po­lit­i­cal sources also spec­u­lated about the pos­si­bil­ity that Senator Lam­bie could stand if a by-elec­tion was called in Brad­don as a re­sult of La­bor MP Jus­tine Keay’s dual cit­i­zen­ship prob­lem.

Senator Lam­bie said she had only found out about her an­ces­try in re­cent weeks while writ­ing her au­to­bi­og­ra­phy.

The Se­nate yes­ter­day re­ferred the res­ig­na­tion of its for­mer pres­i­dent, Tas­ma­nian Stephen Parry, to the High Court.

The court is likely to set a date for a spe­cial count, which would re­sult in the re­turn of for­mer min­is­ter Richard Col­beck, who was dropped to num­ber five on the Lib­eral Se­nate ticket in 2016.

The Se­nate passed a mo­tion re­quir­ing more than 220 other mem­bers of Par­lia­ment, in­clud­ing Ms Keay, to lodge doc­u­ments about their cit­i­zen­ship sta­tus by De­cem­ber 1.

Ms Keay and Queens­land col­league Su­san Lamb have been the fo­cus of a Gov­ern­ment push to em­broil La­bor in the cit­i­zen­ship cri­sis.

A fur­ther tranche of High Court cases or res­ig­na­tions could re­sult in the Gov­ern­ment los­ing con­trol of Par­lia­ment.

Gov­ern­ment Leader in the Se­nate Ge­orge Bran­dis told the Up­per House that Ms Keay had not taken rea­son­able steps to re­nounce her cit­i­zen­ship.

“She was pre­s­e­lected to be the La­bor can­di­date for that seat on or around the 26 June 2015 more than a year be­fore the 2016 elec­tion,” he said.

“She took no steps at all for al­most a year and in­deed waited un­til af­ter the elec­tion was called.”

But Ms Keay said the dif­fer­ence be­tween her case and that of Lib­er­als such as Stephen Parry and Barn­aby Joyce couldn’t be clearer.

“I took all rea­son­able steps to re­nounce my UK cit­i­zen­ship, they didn’t bother,” she said.

She said le­gal ad­vice from a Queens Coun­sel, Peter Hanks, showed the Matt Cana­van case re­vealed the key le­gal point was whether all steps were taken that were rea­son­ably re­quired, not whether the for­eign power had even­tu­ally got around to re­act­ing to those steps.

Ms Keay posted her re­nun­ci­a­tion form on May 13, 2016, but did not re­ceive the con­fir­ma­tion un­til July 11, 2016 — a month af­ter the re­quired date.

The cit­i­zen­ship cri­sis has al­ready claimed five sen­a­tors, for­mer Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Barn­aby Joyce and Ben­ne­long MP John Alexan­der.

SINCE burst­ing on to the scene as part of the Clive Palmer jug­ger­naut at the 2013 fed­eral elec­tion, Jac­qui Lam­bie has al­ways made it clear she has never had any in­ten­tion of be­ing a bit player on the na­tional po­lit­i­cal stage.

And de­spite more than her share of gaffes, Senator Lam­bie has proven to be per­haps the most vo­cal voice for Tas­ma­nia in fed­eral pol­i­tics – a role aided by the power she has wielded as one of the cross­bench sen­a­tors, but fu­elled by her own en­er­getic na­ture.

Senator Lam­bie’s per­sonal back­ground means she has been some­what uniquely po­si­tioned to un­der­stand the strug­gles of our state’s bat­tlers, and so has proven to be a strong ad­vo­cate for the North­West.

It’s a shame, then, that her fu­ture is in doubt be­cause she likely un­wit­tingly holds dual cit­i­zen­ship through her Scot­tish-born fa­ther. Senator Lam­bie was telling col­leagues yes­ter­day she would re­sign im­me­di­ately if she to­day — as ex­pected — re­ceives ad­vice from the UK Home Of­fice that she is a cit­i­zen, and is there­fore in­el­i­gi­ble to sit in Fed­eral Par­lia­ment. In typ­i­cal style, she has promised that Tas­ma­ni­ans will be the first to know once she gets the news.

The Mer­cury has re­peat­edly made the point that our sys­tem of gov­ern­ment is a rep­re­sen­ta­tive democ­racy, and so — it fol­lows — should be rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the com­mu­nity.

Senator Lam­bie was raised in pub­lic hous­ing in

For all her quirks, one of Senator Lam­bie’s most en­dear­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics is that she is not a typ­i­cal cookie-cut­ter politi­cian

Devon­port. She left school at year 11 to join the army, but had to post­pone that move af­ter fall­ing preg­nant. She later did en­list, and over 10 years rose to the rank of cor­po­ral. Her per­sonal story, then, re­flects the ex­pe­ri­ences of many in our com­mu­nity.

And for all her quirks, one of Senator Lam­bie’s most en­dear­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics is that she is not a typ­i­cal cookie-cut­ter politi­cian. That is some­thing that should be cel­e­brated – even if it means she is of­ten a bit rough around the edges. That’s kind of the point. But don’t un­der­es­ti­mate her. The other re­mark­able thing about Senator Lam­bie is what a po­lit­i­cally as­tute op­er­a­tor she has proven to be dur­ing her time in Par­lia­ment.

She was quick to jump from the sink­ing ship that was the Palmer United Party. And she has par­layed those five min­utes of fame into es­tab­lish­ing her own party, the mod­estly named Jac­qui Lam­bie Net­work — under whose ban­ner she last year won back the Se­nate seat she might have to give up to­day.

Senator Lam­bie was no po­lit­i­cal novice when elected to Par­lia­ment, hav­ing worked in senator Nick Sherry’s of­fice for sev­eral years. But she has kept it real. And along the way she has ad­vo­cated hard for the peo­ple she was elected to rep­re­sent.

When you strip away those very pub­lic gaffes — most of which were the re­sult of her telling it like it is, a trait her sup­port­ers ac­tu­ally find en­dear­ing — she has done a good job for Tas­ma­nia.

If Senator Lam­bie some­how man­ages to es­cape the Sec­tion 44 trap that has al­ready claimed seven fed­eral MPs, Tas­ma­ni­ans can rest as­sured she will con­tinue to fight for their in­ter­ests in her unique style.

If not, it looks likely Devon­port mayor Steve Martin — num­ber 2 on the Jac­qui Lam­bie Net­work Se­nate ticket last year — will take Senator Lam­bie’s Se­nate seat. Mr Martin would do well to learn from her ex­am­ple and use his time there to stand up strongly, proudly and unashamedly for Tas­ma­ni­ans.

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