It seems things are going from bad-to-worse for the fledgling Palmer United Party Senator Jacqui Lambie. The past few days have seen the no-nonsense representative demoted within the party and publicly lambasted by its billionaire founder. Media speculation has been mounting; will Ms. Lambie leave the PUP?
Ms. Lambie’s public relationship with the abrasive Mr. Palmer appears to be worsening. Speaking to the ABC today, Ms. Lambie vowed to ignore the onslaught of “abusive threats” flowing from the PUP press-release department. The comment came after weeks of speculation about a growing rift within the minor party.
Ms. Lambie has been head-strong in her insistence that the Government consider an adequate defence pay rise. The sticky issue has seen her effectively protesting the Government’s every move, aiding in Labour’s extended blocking of the Coalition’s controversial agenda.
On Wednesday morning, Ms. Lambie appeared to make matters worse, siding with labour and the Greens to overturn the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) laws. The laws would’ve deregulated financial planning and allowed for more wiggle room on the part of planners themselves.
After Ms. Lambie’s decision, the PUP decided to demote her within the party. She will no longer act as deputy leader of the party and has been temporarily suspended from attending party meetings.
But on the senate floor yesterday, Ms. Lambie seemed defiant in her attitude towards her fair-weather friends in the PUP: “Today’s abusive threats to kick me out of the Palmer United Party will not interfere with my free and fair performance as a member of this Parliament… I want to address the sly personal attack the leader of the Palmer United Party has waged against me in public in recent times. I understand that he is under pressure because of bad political decisions and legal action that’s been taken against him. However that doesn’t give him the right to spread hurtful rumours about me in an effort to intimidate or interfere with the free and fair performance of a member of this Senate.”
This morning, Mr. Palmer was quick to respond, claiming that Ms. Lambie had to “get back on track”. Citing a lack of attendance and communication, Mr. Palmer defended his decision with profound bluntness. “This is because Senator Lambie’s planning to set up an alternate political party,” he claims. “Jacqui Lambie has not brought forward one proposal to the party about Tasmanians, the people who elected her, or about veterans. Her statements she has made about me today are false … she just wants to have a fight about nothing which is not a rational way to behave as a respectable senator.”
The growing rift in the PUP will most likely result in a legislative headache for the Coalition Government. Without clear support from the PUP, the Government will have to re-double its efforts to ensure support for its bills.
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