MORE EVIDENCE of a need to change voting methods for the Senate emerged yesterday, with idiot Senator Jacqui Lambie making spectacularly naive claims in extollation of Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin; her remarks offer further proof of her utter ignorance of world politics, or that she really is mainly driven by base urges, or both. Either way, her outburst highlights the problem of lunatics taking seats in Parliament with a sliver of the vote.
Just in case anyone thinks I’ve succumbed to the temptation in the past two days to take cheap populist shots, I assure readers this is not the case; and whilst opportunities to take another swipe at the imbecile masquerading as a Senator from Tasmania are always welcome, this matter intersects with the far more substantial issue of federal reforms that I had planned to write about last weekend (and to which I will return as time allows, perhaps this coming weekend, instead).
But seemingly unwilling or unable to resist the temptation to prove right anyone accusing her of being a complete moron, “wacky” Palmer United Party Senator Jacqui Lambie has been at it again this week; not merely content to advocate nuclear strikes on China and a divisive plan to reserve seats in Parliament for Aborigines, it now appears that in the demented world view of the woman purporting to be Clive Palmer’s deputy, Russian President Vladimir Putin is a man of “great values” who is dedicated to “(finding) world peace where he possibly can (sic).”
The case against Lambie has been neatly made in this article appearing in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph today, but when it is remembered that Lambie appeared on Hobart radio in July saying — to paraphrase — that she was seeking a man with a lot of money and a huge penis, it isn’t difficult to make the assumption that any rational, logical or even factual assessment of Putin has been subsumed by these rather more basic (and from an elected representative, distasteful) considerations.
To listen to Jacqui Lambie, Putin ought to be a God: he’s a strong leader; has great values; he’s candid and forthright and honest; and he is, of course, a man of peace, working tirelessly “where he possibly can” to end conflict in God’s own world.
You really have to wonder Lambie got the name on one cue card mixed up with someone else’s head shot at “Media Training 101” for novice MPs.
Yet as the Tele summarises in a beaut biographic, Putin is the man who was in charge of the evil Soviet “security” agency, the KGB, which ordered and oversaw thousands of deaths; he directed an invasion attempt against Ukraine; his government conducted a brutal war against rebel Chechens for years; key Russian figures have been assassinated (particularly in London) in hits believed attributable to his regime; his government supplied the weapons used in the MH17 outrage that killed hundreds, including 38 Australians, for which he has refused to apologise and refused to assist with recovery efforts; and — as the Tele also notes — he rules a country with a shocking record on human rights.
He and his henchman have also made thinly veiled threats in the past few years to use nuclear weapons against Western countries who either intervene in conflicts involving Russian allies (Syria, Libya, Iran) or provide military support to Ukraine (or elsewhere in eastern Europe) to repel Russian forces lest another invasion attempt occurs.
How a figure of such apparently unmitigated violence and brutality, unmoved by the savage termination of human life and of such stark narcissism, could be confused with “a man of peace” is anyone’s guess, although we’re not talking about “just anyone” on this occasion.
Once again, Jacqui Lambie has shown herself to be a complete embarrassment to Parliament, to her leader, Clive Palmer (for whom it is impossible not to feel at least a twinge of pity where all things Lambie are concerned), and to Australia generally. It’s not the first time she has made herself an international laughing stock since taking up her place in the Senate three months ago. It will almost certainly not be the last.
At the very least, she has proven — were further evidence even required — just what an idiot she is.
But rather than continue to tear away at Lambie’s credibility — she will do that herself when next she opens her mouth in public — the episode highlights one of the most glaring deficiencies of proportional voting: namely, that dangerous lunatics like this can obtain sinecures in this country’s seat of governance with just a sliver of the popular vote.
In Lambie’s case, at the head of the Palmer United Party’s Tasmanian Senate ticket, she secured just 6.4% of the primary vote in that state; worse, with 21,974 votes — remembering Tasmania gets the same number of Senators as the mainland states irrespective of its population — she boasts little more support than the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party’s Ricky Muir, who was elected with just 17,083 primary votes in Victoria in a state where 3.5 million votes were cast.
Even in Tasmania, where Lambie’s votes were reaped from 345,000 on the day, we’re not talking about anyone with a meaningful level of popular support.
And it’s an important point for the simple reason that if Lambie was from one of the major parties, the clamour for her head — especially if she sat with the Coalition, knowing what Labor and the
Communist Party Greens are like — would be deafening; in such an event the main parties would have recourse to mechanisms to expel her, whereas minor parties either lack such powers altogether or simply refuse to use them.
And whilst mistakes occur from time to time, and the odd cretin slips through the net of vetting, the chances of someone of Jacqui Lambie’s “calibre” even being preselected by Labor or the Liberal Party are close to zero.
Clive Palmer does bear some responsibility for Lambie’s insidious presence: after all, and despite his rhetoric about party “structures” and processes, Palmer has made it patently clear that where is party is concerned, the buck stops with him.
But at the root of the problem, the real villain is proportional voting, which enables any fruit cake or imbecile to find their way to Canberra (and onto the taxpayer-funded gravy train) with not much more than a sprinkling of electoral endorsement — and Lambie is proof incarnate of that very phenomenon.
As an aside, the big issues of governance and reform that Australia faces over the next decade or so are becoming painfully obvious — to me, to other thinking conservatives, and to ordinary folk who know there is something deeply wrong with the system as it stands, but don’t really know what must be done to fix it.
My post today (amusing as some might find it) deals merely with a symptom of the problem, not the cause; and when we get to talking about reforms to the Federation that I think must be enacted (but which I doubt the major parties have either the will or the stomach to pursue), the scourge of proportional voting will once again feature prominently in that discussion.