THE PROSPECT of idiot Senator Jacqui Lambie’s party winning up to seven Senate seats at a double dissolution — almost certainly more than the National Party, and possibly gaining the balance of power — is a horrendous prospect that would cause untold damage to Australia; with Lambie’s ignorant, childish politics based on little more than settling imaginary scores, government would grind to a halt. Undoing her impact would take years.
In the small hours of Monday morning and still with things to do in advance of the week ahead there are better things I can think of to discuss, but anything to do with Jacqui Lambie — especially when it concerns the prospect of her spreading her influence — warrants attention.
I’ve seen an article from the regional Tasmanian newspaper The Advocate today, which cites Liberal Party polling quoted from Victorian Liberal state president Michael Kroger, suggesting that Tasmanian Palmer Senator-cum-Independent Jacqui Lambie currently commands 22-24% of the vote on the Apple Isle, and is said to be polling strongly in Queensland, Western Australia, and perhaps even in Victoria and New South Wales.
Whilst no tabulation of the numbers was presented (and remembering, of course, that three parts of evidence is often accompanied by three parts of gamesmanship where internal political polling is concerned), the looming spectre of a double dissolution election more or less doubles the ability of small parties to win Senate seats on account of the much lower electoral quotas required.
And whilst the findings Kroger was quoted discussing are unknown, the notion of Jacqui Lambie with two or three seats in Tasmania and up to one more in each of four of the five mainland states — possibly as many as seven in total — is, frankly, bloody terrifying.
I’ve been accused (usually by Coalition turncoats and ALP types who just want to stoke the fire when it comes to breakaway right wing outfits) of being everything from a sexist and misogynistic pig to an elitist and patrician snob (Moi? seriously?) for my determination to do anything I can to build public sentiment against Jacqui Lambie and help obliterate her political prospects.
But in declaring as regularly as she is discussed in this column that I believe her to be the stupidest individual ever elected to an Australian House of Parliament, I don’t do so lightly: and I don’t do so without a passing nod to the pantheon of no-hopers who, in some cases frantically, burst forth from the musty arras of history with comprehensive claims on the dubious status I accord to Lambie.
It’s not because she is so challenged as a communicator as to be virtually incoherent: everyone has something worthwhile to say, or at least that’s the theory, even if Lambie is incapable of conveying meaning in any other sense but the banal, or the xenophobic, or with the vitriol that invariably accompanies a complete victim mentality.
And it’s not because there is no evidence that anything about Lambie is in any way couth, civilised, or that she comprehends what her current role as a Senator demands of her: there are plenty of bogans around, after all, and almost all of them are great people.
Rather, it traces to eccentricities — to be generous — such as a former army truck driver and military policewoman purporting to be an expert on high matters of defence policy, when ample evidence exists that most service personnel find her cringeworthy at best and, in short, a joke.
It traces to peculiarities such as the barely articulate distinction she attempted to draw between “Chinese” and “Communist Chinese” and the suggestion that somehow the first group of people were just great in her eyes, whilst the other necessitated Australia taking up nuclear arms and blasting the dreaded Yellow Peril off the face of the planet.
It traces to the fact — conceded in her own words — that she hung around both the Liberal and Labor parties to play them off against each other to see what she could get; since those dizzying glory days she has been in and out of the Palmer United Party (and say what you will about Clive Palmer, but it’s a reflection on Lambie that she professes to be perturbed that following instructions might have been a requirement after she was elected on the back of a truckload of the mining baron’s money) and is now onto at least her fourth political party in fairly rapid succession: this time, her own.
For someone who professes expertise in military strategy — where mates have each other’s back, and nobody runs out and hides when the company is under attack — Lambie does not appear to be the kind of soldier you’d want to follow into battle, and this is a salient point for those flirting with voting for her to consider.
For the benefit of readers who missed it, I republish here the article I posted in March, when Lambie announced she would do what most disgruntled basket cases seem to do these days, having been elected on someone else’s coat tails and subsequently deciding their excrement doesn’t stink, and start a party named after themselves: and that article also contains links to several previous pieces that have formed discussion of Senator Lambie whenever her unfortunate ideas and objectives have come to public notice.
Aside from disability funding (a cause she came to champion after she got pissed and walked in front of a car) and defence force remuneration (because she’s such an expert on the military) the only thing Jacqui Lambie really stands for — as far as can be reasonably distilled from her idiotic utterances — is herself.
And just about the only thing that apparently drives her is revenge: revenge against the Liberal Party and Tony Abbott, for reasons unknown. Revenge against Clive Palmer, for reasons that speak to her own decisions and her inability to judge Palmer and his likely demands on her if she was elected on his ticket. Revenge against anything, or anyone, who dares to campaign for a position on something that isn’t explicitly what Lambie herself deems desirable.
Then — when you add in the racist, xenophobic diatribes, the fact she is supremely and naively out of her depth, and the fact she regularly threatens to bring Parliament grinding to a halt unless she gets what she wants, and to hell with anyone else (and God forbid, the national interest) — it really does become clear that not only is Lambie a simpleton masquerading as the big kid in the sandpit, but that the last thing she should ever be entrusted with is the balance of power in the Australian Senate.
It’s not hard to see how this could happen; after 20 years in which the ALP has seen its left flank slowly eroded and annexed by first the Australian Democrats and now the
Communist Party Greens, a similar phenomenon seems to have commenced on the political Right, with Clive Palmer and Bob Katter (and earlier, Pauline Hanson) all hiving off large chunks of Coalition support.
Since we are talking about Kroger, one of the meetings I’ve been to this year where he was speaking saw him talking about what the Liberals need to do to retrieve their standing in Victoria — which, as he put it, was to once again advocate policies (and when elected, to govern) that reflect the values we as Liberals say we believe in.
It isn’t rocket science, but Kroger is absolutely right.
I have been critical of the Abbott government at various times; one of the key criticisms readers will have heard from me many times is that there is nothing conservative about it: there isn’t anything liberal, in the classic sense, about it either.
There are issues with the Senate and the way it is elected (and especially since the ALP fiddled it in 1984) that have lately been gamed and strategised to elect people with virtually no popular support, and whilst it’s something I believe needs to be fixed, and urgently, I don’t propose to divert down that particular tangent now.
But given it’s the Right — the Liberal Party especially — that stands to lose the most from any populist onslaught by Lambie, I obviously have a vested interest in trying to see that something is done to counter it.
People vote for fringe entities like the Palmer United Party, or for fruit cakes like Jacqui Lambie, because they are disillusioned with politics and feel government simply doesn’t do anything to make their lot in life better; in the absence of anything meaningful, they connect instead with “rough diamonds,” or people they think are “authentic,” or bullies who might “keep the bastards honest,” or some other permutation of the fact they feel established political parties deliver only for the people who run them and work in them.
If the Liberal Party, for example, developed policies that truly reflected its small government, pro-family, pro-business, strong national defence ideals that emphasised the virtues of opportunity for all, personal freedom and personal responsibility — and actually sold these properly in a way that voters could reconcile the intended outcomes with their own individual circumstances — then I believe the last thing it would need to worry about is losing a swag of Senators to someone like Jacqui Lambie at a double dissolution election.
Delusional stories of Lambie’s desire to bed rich men with huge dicks might be most amusing, but they aren’t a reason to vote for her.
The threat can be circumvented by the advocacy of policies that embody traditional liberal and conservative values: after all, it’s reasonable to assert those are what people thought they would get when they elected the Abbott government in a landslide but, to date, they haven’t got them at all.
We already know about Lambie’s mad, bad agenda. We already know she’s quite open about threats to strangle the process of government until or unless she gets what she wants.
Were she to ever control the balance of power in the Senate and thus the capacity to make good on those threats, God knows what she might be capable of. The damage — and the potential carnage — she could inflict on this country, its governance and its economic welfare, is incalculable. It is a horrific thought to contemplate.
If Kroger’s numbers are right, the only way to stop her is to ensure the next election reaps her no increase in her parliamentary numbers: and to achieve that, it’s obviously high time that the strategists and tacticians in the Coalition bunker set to work on cutting the niche constituency of disgruntled conservative voters out from beneath her feet.