Loss of genuine class act a real shame for us all
JACQUI Lambie is getting the chop, and that is a great shame for the parliament.
Lambie is a class act. A working class act.
Any old parliament could turn up a Malcolm Turnbull or a Tony Abbott or a Julie Bishop or a Bill Shorten. They all went to the right schools. They all know the right people.
They’ve all had the polish applied to their manners, and their mien.
But surely only the Australian system could turn up a Jacqui Lambie, and that makes our system the greatest in the world.
Lambie was elected to the Senate, this time around, by sheer force. She wanted it, she worked for it, she showed her face — her grit, her anger, that set jaw — to the Tasmanian people, and they liked what they saw.
Lambie is not connected. She doesn’t know any of the right people. She spent the first four of her parliamentary pay cheques paying off old credit card debt.
Lambie isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. She isn’t polished. But what is polish? It’s just the veneer they whack on you in good homes and good schools, of which she was denied the benefit, through no fault of her own.
Lambie was struggle street. A high school dropout who joined the Army and raised her babies as a single mum. Who got injured and had to fight for compensation. Who had been single for a decade when she was elected, and went on radio and talked about how she wanted a man with a “wad of cash” and a “package between his legs”.
She has also talked about her addiction to Botox. About how one of her kids had a drug problem. How, at her lowest point, she contemplated suicide.
God forbid anyone should be honest about their true feelings, and their personal failings. The working class is supposed to hide their shame.
And yet, every now and then, Lambie would say something that made complete and total sense.
Why do we put our veterans through an agonising series of bureaucratic hoops before they can get assistance for their suffering? Why do we let them kill themselves in alarming numbers?
Why are little girls in Australian primary schools in Sydney’s west and on the Brisbane fringe forced to wear the veil as part of their school uniform?
Why have we allowed our magnificent public health service — Medicare, once the envy of the world — to become so atrophied? So much so that the kind of health care you get, especially for lifesaving cancer treatment, now depends on how much money you have, and the state in which you live?
Since when was that the Australian way?
You don’t have to agree with every word, and some of Lambie’s ideas — electronic tagging of refugees, for example — were a bit mad.
But when she speaks, it’s raw, and it’s heartfelt, and at least you know she believes it. With the rest of them, you can never quite be sure. Reprinted with permission of