Controversial Tasmanian politician and loose-lipped independent Jacqui Lambie has fired off an angry Facebook post at some older Australian veterans. But was Ms. Lambie’s tirade justified?
“You see these veterans, these are the sort of men who kiss the PM’s arse and say thank you for nothing,” the post read. “These kind of men say it is OK to treat a veteran like a piece of s#*t. These men are out of touch with today’s veterans, and these sorts of men make it harder for today’s veterans to fight against the poor treatment handed out by the [Department of Veterans’ Affairs] DVA.”
Without much consideration of the facts, Ms. Lambie publicly chastised Vietnam vets Bob Purcell and Stephen Karsai. After a public backlash, Ms. Lambie removed the tweet and publicly apologised for “having a bad day”. Ms. Lambie also added that she had reached out to the men to personally apologise for the affront.
Veteran Bob Purcell told the ABC that he thought the senator’s apology was insincere at best. “She did ring and she has apologised to me, I said I would accept her apology when she’s put it on her Facebook and sent a letter to our organisation telling us she’s sorry and for the problems and the troubles that she’s caused,” Mr Purcell explained. “Put it this way, my bulls#*t indicator was working overtime.”
Addressing the controversy, Labor senator Deb O’Neil sought to explain why the tweet was rash and ill-considered. She explained that the veteran had been on-hand to defend a fellow veteran who was handed a large bill (a debt accumulated through incorrect income assessment) from the DVA. The two men sought to raise the issue with the PM at the event in question. “This was so stressful for a vet recovering from PTSD, that it really set him back in terms of his recovery and well-being,” she told the ABC.
Somewhat passive-aggressively, Ms. Lambie later sought to clarify the intentions of her earlier comments. “My heart goes out to those veterans that they have to dig that deep, that they have to get inside to get Tony Abbott’s ear and go to a Liberal Party fundraiser, and we shouldn’t have to do that,” she explained. “We have advocacy groups out there, and they’re not listening to them… I want the madness of the Abbott Government and the dysfunction to stop today.”
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