Departing Senator Jacqui Lambie's greatest hits and misses

Senator Jacqui Lambie
Senator Jacqui Lambie

You’re not going to get a more proudly plain-speaking politician than Tasmanian independent Senator Jacqui Lambie.

Her frank and fearless style produced an abundance of memorable moments – some of them affecting, others cringe-worthy.

Here’s some of Senator Lambie’s greatest hits and misses.

‘A nice package’

Many people’s introduction to Senator Lambie was via her appearance on a Heart 107.3 talkback radio program in 2014.

In staggeringly lewd fashion, the newly-minted senator took to radio to seek a male suitor.

“They must have heaps of cash and they've got to have a package between their legs,” Senator Lambie said of her ideal man.

“They don't even need to speak.”

Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner at the time, Robin Banks, criticised Senator Lambie’s remarks, as did former state Labor leader Bryan Green.

The senator’s response?

“I won’t be scripted.”

Addiction in the family

With a candour rarely seen from politicians, Senator Lambie publicly opened up about her then 21-year-old son’s ice addiction in 2015.

“Even with my title, I have no control over my son,” she said.

“I can’t involuntary detox my own son.

“Because I’m not talking to my son anymore, I’m now talking to a drug.”

Senator Lambie’s son has since rehabilitated and reconnected with his mother.

‘Like an angry prostitute’

Back in 2016, when Labor Senator Sam Dastyari found himself in hot water over his involvement with Chinese donors, then Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi was on the offensive.

But Senator Lambie took him to task.

“[He’s] like an angry prostitute lecturing us about the benefits of celibacy,” she said.

“And before I receive unfair criticism from the sex workers, I apologise to them profusely [for] comparing them to Senator Bernardi.

“Because I can tell you, prostitutes are far more honest, sincere, humane, compassionate and better ‘bang for buck’ than Senator Bernardi will ever be.”

It was at this point that she was ordered to resume her seat.

Clash with Abdel-Magied

Whenever Senator Lambie appeared on the ABC’s Q&A program, it was guaranteed to be entertaining viewing.

None of her appearances on the show were more sensational than when she butted heads with prominent Muslim leader Yassmin Abdel-Magied over sharia law.

“The fact is we have one law in this country and it is the Australian law,” Senator Lambie said menacingly to Ms Abdel-Magied.

The latter offered a rebuttal.

“My frustration is that people talk about Islam without knowing anything about it and they're willing to completely negate any of my rights as a human being,” she said.

Senator Lambie, who has been described as Islamophobic, went on to endorse US President Donald Trump’s ban on Muslim immigration, going so far as to say she believed it was a policy that should be adopted in Australia.

Welfare struggles

Earlier this year, Senator Lambie delivered a passionate speech on the floor of the Senate, condemning the Coalition’s proposed welfare cuts.

She gave a personal account of her own experience living off welfare payments, after she received a medical discharge from the military in 2000.

“You can imagine … what it was like, how shameful it felt and how demeaning it was for me to be able to work my whole life, to become a single mum, living with two kids, trying to support them on a disability support pension,” she said.

Senator Lambie told the Coalition, “I know you haven’t been through that”.

“But there are some of us in here who have.”

Coupled with her unashamed statements around her son’s addiction, it was times like this when Senator Lambie was at her most formidable.

Attorney-General George Brandis put it best.

“Senator Lambie, you have prosecuted your beliefs and the causes that you care about with real passion,” he said on Tuesday.

“And, as a result, you have been very effective.”