Senator Jacqui Lambie vows her political career isn't over as she resigns from Senate

EMOTIONAL FAREWELL: Tasmanian independent Senator Jacqui Lambie bid a tearful goodbye to the Senate on Tuesday, after she found out she was a dual national and subsequently announced her resignation. Picture: Andrew Meares
EMOTIONAL FAREWELL: Tasmanian independent Senator Jacqui Lambie bid a tearful goodbye to the Senate on Tuesday, after she found out she was a dual national and subsequently announced her resignation. Picture: Andrew Meares

Firebrand Tasmanian independent Senator Jacqui Lambie has resigned from the federal parliament, a week after doubts were first raised over her citizenship status.

Last Wednesday, Senator Lambie confirmed that her father was born in 1950 in Larkhall, Scotland, and migrated with his family to Australia in February 1952.

It came as the citizenship crisis engulfed Canberra further, with questions mounting over the citizenship of Coalition MP John Alexander, who announced his resignation on Saturday.

Senator Lambie is the sixth senator to resign due to holding dual citizenship, and the second Tasmanian senator along with former Senate President Stephen Parry.

She was elected to the Senate in 2014, after having served in the military for more than 10 years.

She was elected on a veterans’ rights platform.

Announcing her resignation to the Senate on Tuesday afternoon, Senator Lambie said she had just received confirmation from the Scottish government that she was a dual citizen by descent.

“I haven't been able to sleep for days, ever since my citizenship has had a question mark next to it,” she said.

“There's no question mark anymore. 

“In its place is an answer, in black and white, courtesy of an email sent by a bureaucrat sitting at his desk on a London afternoon.”

Senator Lambie said she did not blame her father for her situation.

“It's not because of him that I'm leaving this place - it's because of him that I'm here,” she said.

Senator Lambie also reflected on her achievements in the parliament.

She said she was proud she had helped secure increased funding for Tasmanian schools, as well as a feasibility study into expanding hydro-electric development in Tasmania.

Senator Lambie also noted she had won a fair pay deal for the Australian Defence Force and provided the vote that “torpedoed a savage package of welfare cuts”.

“I couldn't help everyone who needed my help,” she said.

“It's my greatest disappointment in my time here.”

Senator Lambie recommended extensive vote-pairing arrangements in her absence, to ensure that Tasmanians who voted for the Jacqui Lambie Network had their voices properly represented in the parliament.

Attorney-General George Brandis was the first of many senators to pay tribute to Senator Lambie on Tuesday.

“It will be obvious to you, Senator Lambie, from these spontaneous expressions of affection - and, may I say, love - that has come from all sides of this chamber, the effect that you have had on all the colleagues that have served with you since you have been elected as a senator for Tasmania,” he said.

Tasmanian Labor Senator Anne Urquhart said she hoped Senator Lambie would still give her husband lifts home from the Ulverstone RSL now that she was resigning from the Senate.

Senator Lambie told Tasmania Talks on Tuesday that she would look to contest for a position in the next federal election but ruled out contesting the next state election.

She said she would stand and support her Jacqui Lambie Network candidates in the state election.

Senator Lambie flagged the possibility of her contesting the seat of Braddon in a by-election, should Labor MHR Justine Keay succumb to her own citizenship issues.

Political analyst Kevin Bonham said it would be “difficult” for Senator Lambie to wrest Braddon from Ms Keay in the event of a by-election.

One day, I hope I'm back here.

Senator Jacqui Lambie

“Her high profile was already a factor in the federal election,” Dr Bonham said.

“So it’s already factored in to their vote in the area. 

“Assuming that both the major parties run, I’m not seeing how she gets into second place.”

Ms Keay thanked Senator Lambie for “passionately advocating for Tasmania”.

“A by-election is a hypothetical,” she said.

“I’m focused on getting on with the job.”

Senator Lambie closed her address to the Senate with some optimism.

“One day, I hope I'm back here, and when I am I hope my dad's here too, cheering me on, like he's always done,” she said.