Mayor faces tough choice over Se­nate

Mercury (Hobart) - - NEWSFRONT - HE­LEN KEMP­TON

DEVON­PORT Mayor Steve Martin has a sleep­less night ahead as he de­cides whether his po­lit­i­cal fu­ture lies in lo­cal govern­ment or the Se­nate.

Ald Martin, who is rep­re­sent­ing the City of Devon­port at a con­fer­ence in Queens­land, said he was shocked and sad­dened to see Jacqui Lam­bie re­sign from the Se­nate as the par­lia­men­tary cit­i­zen­ship cri­sis claimed an­other Tas­ma­nian scalp.

Sen­a­tor Lam­bie said her Se­nate spot would go to Mr Martin, who was the next can­di­date on the Jacqui Lam­bie Net­work ticket in the 2016 elec­tion.

“I fly home to­mor­row, will talk to my fam­ily and then make a for­mal an­nounce­ment on my in­ten­tions on Thurs­day morn­ing,” Ald Martin said.

“I was hop­ing Jacqui passed the cit­i­zen­ship test so I wouldn’t have to make this de­ci­sion.

“I love be­ing mayor and Devon­port is mov­ing into an ex­cit­ing time. I will give this very care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion. We have talked a lit­tle about the prospect but this re­ally has come out of the blue.”

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Richard Herr said fill­ing her spot might not be that sim­ple.

It would de­pend on whether Sen­a­tor Lam­bie’s res­ig­na­tion was ac­cepted or whether she was deemed an in­el­i­gi­ble can­di­date and there­fore had no seat to re­sign from, Dr Herr said.

“The mat­ter might even need to be re­ferred to the High Court. It all de­pends on if her res­ig­na­tion is ac­cepted as such or if it is con­tested in the court of dis­puted re­turns as a non­can­di­d­ancy,” he said.

“If her res­ig­na­tion is ac­cepted and nei­ther of the other JLN Se­nate can­di­dates want the job, then there is no rea­son some­one else can’t be elected with Sen­a­tor Lam­bie’s pref­er­ences dis­trib­uted to find the next electable per­son.”

Sen­a­tor Lam­bie ex­pressed con­fi­dence in Ald Martin’s abil­ity to take over her seat, say­ing her poli­cies were well de­vel­oped and he would be able to “just walk into the po­si­tion.”

“We will do ev­ery­thing to cush­ion the ride for him,” she said on ABC Ra­dio yes­ter­day.

If Ald Martin de­cides not to take up the Jacqui Lam­bie Net­work Se­nate spot, and her res­ig­na­tion is ac­cepted, the seat will fall to Robert Water­man.

But Mr Water­man, who heads Ru­ral Health Tas­ma­nia, says he is no longer in a po­lit­i­cal seat.

“I have a bet­ter chance to en­act change in the po­si­tion I am in now,” he said.

“Tas­ma­nia has health is­sues that need re­solv­ing and Ru­ral Health Tas­ma­nia has a blue­print for that.

“To be hon­est, I am a bit dis­heart­ened in Aus­tralian pol­i­tics at the mo­ment. I am not see­ing lead­er­ship, it is all about un­der­min­ing col­leagues not what is best for the na­tion.

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