‘Less lawyers, more Lambies’: Outgoing senator delivers tearful farewell speech, receives praise

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Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie
Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie facebook.com/senatorlambie

Outgoing Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie delivered a tearful farewell address on Tuesday as she became the eighth casualty in the citizenship crisis. Although she was forced to quit Parliament, she believed she has "so much more" to achieve in Canberra.

On Tuesday, Lambie told the Senate she had worked hard to be a “voice for those who do not often get much of a voice in this chamber.” Her statement came after she recognised her British citizenship through her Scottish-born father.

"Politicians on both sides of the house talk about helping those on welfare without having had to choose between spending your welfare payment on either school uniforms [or] school lunches," Lambie said in her address, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. She maintained that she refused to deliver the budget into surplus by directing struggling families into further poverty.

Labor, Coalition and crossbench colleagues praised and embraced Lambie after her speech. Attorney-General George Brandis said that her service had made the Senate a richer, better place, and that she has become one of the best-liked and best-known in Australia since she decided to be part of Senate. "We have all benefited from your company, your wisdom, your life experience and, in particular, from the passion,” Brandis told the high-profile crossbencher.

For Labor frontbencher Doug Cameron, there must be “less lawyers, more Lambies" in federal politics. He said no one was ever bored every time Lambie talks in the Senate. He described her as a tough, uncompromising, working-class woman.

Cameron also praised her departure from the Palmer United Party six months after she entered Parliament in 2013. That, he said, was one of the first good decisions Lambie has made.

Amid calls to amend the constitution and permit dual citizens to sit in Parliament, Lambie said politicians must just "suck it up” and deal with their mistakes. She also said she would never ask anyone to step aside.

A disclosure measure seeks to resolve the citizenship fiasco. The government and Labor both agreed to it.

All MPs will be required to disclose the details of their birth, heritage of their parents and grandparents. There must be proof that any second citizenship was renounced.

The British government has confirmed that Lambie had inherited citizenship from her paternal grandfather. She said her Scotland-born father had wrongly believed his father had renounced his citizenship.

Lambie said she would consider running for lower-house seat. She added that one can’t keep a “bloody Lambie” down.