Mayor faces tough choice over Senate
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.