Jacqui Lambie to resign from Australian Senate

UPDATE at 12:45pm:

Senator Lambie delivers a farewell (for now) address to the Senate.

UPDATE at 12:00pm:

Senator Lambie addresses her Facebook followers.

UPDATE at 10:15am:

Tasmania senator Jacqui Lambie has released a media statement on her resignation.

She said she will table a resignation document when the Senate sits this afternoon, outlining pairing positions on upcoming bills.

Ms Lambie said she had received assurances from Labor that standard pairing arrangements will be honoured but is awaiting similar assurances from the government.

PREVIOUSLY:

Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie has announced that she will resign from Parliament today.

Speaking to Tasmania Talks on Tuesday morning, Senator Lambie said she received confirmation from the Scottish government this morning that she was a dual citizen by descent.

Ms Lambie said she would look to contest for a position in the next federal election but ruled out contesting the next state election.

The independent senator was emotional as she took to the airwaves to inform constituents about her decision.

“They deserve to know before anyone else does,” she said.

The independent senator will resign from the Australian Senate at the start of the day’s sitting.

She ruled out personally contesting the Tasmanian state election, but said she would stand and support her Jacqui Lambie Network candidates. 

Senator Lambie said everything was “back on the game board”, and she vowed to watch the situation of Braddon MHR Justine Keay.  

“I’ll have a good look if Justine Keay goes down,” she said.

 “It might be an option if she goes down to have a run in Braddon.”

Devonport mayor Steve Martin, who was second on the Jacqui Lambie Network’s 2016 Senate ticket, is likely to take Senator Lambie’s position in the chamber.

Senator Lambie said she would renounce her citizenship and aim to return to the political arena. 

“Boots back on, let’s go,” she said. 

Since taking her seat in the Senate in 2013 as a member of the Palmer United Party, Senator Lambie has promoted herself as a working-class politician.

Tearing up as she revealed her resignation, Senator Lambie said more politicians would fall victim to Section 44 of the Constitution of Australia. 

“You should not change the constitution because some of us have gone down,” she said.

After the resignation of President of the Senate, Stephen Parry, Senator Lambie is the second Tasmanian to be caught up in the citizenship crisis.

Opponents pay tribute  

Tasmanian Liberal senator Eric Abetz has thanked Senator Lambie for her service to the parliament.

“Jacqui Lambie’s passion for Tasmania has certainly brought some interesting flair to the Senate during her term as a senator,” he said. 

“While Ms Lambie’s resignation from the Senate will be disappointing, particularly for her supporters, she has acted with integrity and a fundamental respect for the Tasmanian people by resigning for which she should be commended.”

Senator Abetz also used Senator Lambie’s resignation to call on Braddon MHR Justine Keay to end speculation about her future.

"It is a real shame that Justine Keay continues to engage in such a great deception of the people of Braddon by refusing to either resign or have herself referred to the High Court to draw an end to the valid questions hanging over her particularly in light of Mr Parry and Ms Lambie’s honourable actions,” he said.

“I wish Ms Lambie well for the future.”

Senator Lambie’s colleague, Liberal senator Jonathon Duniam, was saddened by her resignation.

Jacqui Lambie with Liberal senator Jonathon Duniam. Picture: Facebook

Jacqui Lambie with Liberal senator Jonathon Duniam. Picture: Facebook

“She has been a vocal advocate for our state, particularly for the North-West Coast,” he said. 

“I have enjoyed working with her on a number of projects for the good of our community and look forward to working with her into the future, whatever capacity that is in.”

State government frontbencher Rene Hidding said he was “sad for Jacqui Lambie”.

“I think all Tasmanians would understand that times like these are difficult but we certainly haven’t agreed with everything that Jacqui Lambie has said or done but the fact is her heart is in the right place and our thoughts are with her today,” Mr Hidding said.

Lambie’s network had citizenship problems

It is not the first time Senator Lambie’s party has had citizenship problems.

The Jacqui Lambie Network’s Queensland candidate was forced withdraw because of the same issue now threatening to bring down the Senator. 

During the 2016 federal election the Jacqui Lambie Network’s leading candidate in Queensland, Bob Davis, resigned because he held British citizenship.

Mr Davis, the owner of a boot camp for troubled youth on the Fraser Coast, was forced to withdraw almost three weeks before the July 2 election.

The Jacqui Lambie Network’s third Senate candidate, Rob Waterman, was also told by the party to withdraw his British citizenship.

Mr Waterman said his process of renunciation started in February 2016 and took about eight weeks to finalise.

“They got onto me about Section 44 and I had to renounce my British citizenship,” he said of the party.

“It was part of the discussions about me running for a seat.

“I was a big deal because it was something I really held dear.”