It was Jacqui Lambie unplugged on ABC’s Q&A on Monday, with the former Tasmanian senator praised for her raw, relentless passion.
Free from any constraints after last week being found to be ineligible to sit in Parliament due to dual citizenship, she did not disappoint by offering a typically feisty performance and a string of colourful outbursts.
Audience member Angus Paterson complimented Ms Lambie on her advocacy, saying it was genuine and authentic even though he did not have similar political views.
“I find it quite hard to look away, as we’ve seen tonight,” he said. “You appear to be a fierce, committed, passionate advocate for Tasmania and unwilling to be swayed by political forces who encourage you to change political tact.
“For these reasons I have even found myself wondering ‘would I vote for Jacqui Lambie?'”
Ms Lambie welcomed the compliment and said politics was missing the element of trust.
“There’s a massive gap for that to be filled. I won’t sit here and lie to anyone. I’ll tell you the truth whether you like it or not. If that brings harm to me, so be it,” she said.
“You start telling lies, you start chasing your tail. And that really leaves you in an awkward situation. I won’t put myself in that sort of a situation.
“I have been very lucky to have that opportunity.”
But did she have the audience member’s vote?
“You’d have to change your views on a couple of things … But, yeah. You’re getting close,” he replied, leading Ms Lambie to extend a coffee invitation which was met with laughter by the live Melbourne audience.
— ABC Q&A (@QandA) November 20, 2017
She argued strongly that parliamentary delays to discussing religious protections under the same-sex marriage bill would leave 40 per cent of the country “in limbo” well into the new year.
“This is what you’re doing to people because you’re going out there bull at a bloody gate as politicians do and they haven’t filled in the gaps,” she said.
However, Shadow Minister for Employment Brendan O’Connor said many of these protections are already contained within the Dean Smith bill.
“It’s critical that we do not go backwards when it comes to anti-discrimination laws. It would be absurd, offensive and ironic that we would find ourselves going backwards in discriminating against same-sex couples in order to reintroduce and qualify anti-discrimination laws that exist already in this country,” he said.
Yet another marriage equality-related question fired up Ms Lambie even more.
“Haven’t we moved it on yet?” she said, glancing at host Tony Jones as though asking him whether or not she was required to respond.
“We have covered the topic to death, to be honest. What we’d like to see is it all done and everybody’s rights put into place,” she said.
“I’d like [the religious protections] done as quickly as possible. I don’t see that happening at the end of the year, I’ll be honest with you.
“They’ll leave it half open and the rest will sit there and wonder what the hell they’re supposed to do and what the law is. You can’t leave it sitting there like that.”
Ms Lambie went on to propose that the Australian Parliament is “falling apart”.
She said some politicians, who she refused to name, had approached her claiming they believed they could be “in trouble” over dual citizenship – names that are yet to have been mentioned in the news.
She said she would welcome a new election.
“I’m in. I’m in. I’ve renounced. I’m ready to go. Bring it on,” she said.
“The dual citizenship will finish them off.
“It needs to be done a lot more professionally than that. We need to know what’s going on. If the Parliament is in turmoil it needs to be dissolved and we need to go back to an election.
“We’re not getting anything done. Who is running the economy and the country?”