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Jacqui Lambie takes a swipe at Tony Abbott for 'parading daughters around', says Clive Palmer not a 'puppet master'

Tony Abbott and his daughters, Bridget and Frances, in Brisbane on the campaign trail last year.

Tony Abbott and his daughters, Bridget and Frances, in Brisbane on the campaign trail last year. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Palmer United Party Senator Jacqui Lambie says Clive Palmer will not be the "puppet master" of his three new senators and has taken a shot at Prime Minister Tony Abbott for "parading his daughters around" during the 2013 election campaign.

Senator Lambie, who has famously described Mr Abbott as a "political psychopath", said on Thursday that she had not met Mr Abbott, but she had read his books.

Palmer United Party Senator Jacqui Lambie arrives at Parliament House for orientation. She has taken a swipe at Tony Abbott for 'parading his daughters around' during the 2013 election campaign.

Palmer United Party Senator Jacqui Lambie arrives at Parliament House for orientation. She has taken a swipe at Tony Abbott for 'parading his daughters around' during the 2013 election campaign. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

She told ABC radio that the "last straw" for her was Mr Abbott's behaviour on the 2013 campaign trail.

"I think what really finished it off with me was when, in the last election, how he's parading his daughters around," she said.

"I'll be honest about that, because that's a security issue. That really bothers me that you've got those young girls, pretty young girls, running around in front of the camera.

"I just thought, is your political career more important than your own daughters' security?"

Senator Lambie said later on Thursday she did not regret calling Mr Abbott a psychopath and that this would not prevent her from meeting the Prime Minister.

"I have to meet him, there's no doubt about that. I have plenty I need to say to Tony Abbott. So as soon as he wants to bring that meeting forward, then that would be great," she told reporters in Canberra.

Asked about Senator Lambie's description of him as a "political psychopath", Mr Abbott on Thursday said, "Well, I will respond to all of the crossbench senators with respect and courtesy."

Senator Lambie signalled the government would have a tough time getting measures through the Senate, saying she would not compromise on her opposition to the government's proposed GP fee, the deregulation of university fees or the paid parental leave scheme.

Mr Abbott said in an interview on Thursday that he was looking forward to working with each of the new crossbench senators to pass government policies, including new restrictions that will make it harder for young people to receive the dole.

He said he was ''confident that once we’ve had the chance to sit down with all of the various crossbench senators we will get our measures through''.

''I'm not saying that nothing will ever be changed or adjusted, I'm not saying that there won't ever be any fine tuning or finessing but we are absolutely determined to get away from the situation where youngsters leave school and go on the dole,'' he told Fairfax Media  radio station 3AW.

''This is just shocking. It’s a shocking way to begin your adult life.''

Government senate leader Eric Abetz said the new crossbenchers made the Senate manageable after months of blocks by Labor and the Greens.

The new senators were willing to make the Senate work, he said. ''At least we've got a majority in the Senate now with whom we can talk on a practical basis and not a group of senators who still resent the decision of the Australian people,'' he told Sky News on Thursday.

Senator Lambie has previously vowed to fight for her home state of Tasmania, even if it means taking a different stance on some pieces of legislation to her Palmer United Party colleagues.

She told the ABC that each of the three PUP senators had their own "head on our shoulders" that they would use to make the best decision for their home states.

"None of us are controlled by Clive Palmer," she said.

"All the three senators are exactly the same, they'll be fighting their guts out for their state no matter what and that's just part of the agreement with the party."

She praised Mr Palmer's economic credentials and said he was ''a good listener''.

Senator Lambie said she had plenty to say and "I get my way".

She said the renewable energy target was one example of a policy that had produced different views within the Palmer United Party and she had been able to persuade Mr Palmer that there should be special exemptions for Tasmanian businesses from that scheme.

"He does agree there should be an exemption for big business, as long as it doesn't affect the solar people that have outlaid money, especially pensioners for their solar systems," she said.

with Steve Lillebuen

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345 comments

  • Abolish the Senate, if this is the calibre of people elected by the proportional voting system used for that house then the Senate has lost all credibility.

    Commenter
    ConservativeJohn
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    July 03, 2014, 10:29AM
    • Maybe. New Zealand abolished its upper house in 1951 and there's nothing wrong with democracy there. But NZ politicians are of a better character than the miserable people we have to choose between.

      Commenter
      rudy
      Date and time
      July 03, 2014, 10:49AM
    • um...proportional voting is for both houses.....

      Commenter
      shemp
      Location
      melb
      Date and time
      July 03, 2014, 10:50AM
    • We need to change our laws to get rid of the senate or reduce its power. The UK, NZ, Canada all don't have elected feral tossers thinking they run the country. Vote Labor, vote Liberal, but do it in both houses and make our country governable.

      Commenter
      nemises
      Location
      lalor
      Date and time
      July 03, 2014, 10:52AM
    • I would have the definition of 'conservative' would mean defending the traditional value of the Constitution. You know abolishing the senate would be a significant change to the Constitution which means a 'referendum' is compulsory.

      Good luck in that!

      Commenter
      Gerson
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      July 03, 2014, 11:00AM
    • Dump our lying PM first - he has single handed dragged down not only the reputation and calibre of politics and politicians in this country but in fact the entire country.

      Commenter
      Start at the top!
      Date and time
      July 03, 2014, 11:01AM
    • ConservativeJohn, notwithstanding that she is not polished and a career politician, what's your problem with her calibre? She has some strongly held positions (no doubt many of which I will disagree with) but I have no qualms about her 'calibre'.

      Commenter
      jofek
      Date and time
      July 03, 2014, 11:05AM
    • All you have done nemesis is point out the lack of character in our politicians.

      Commenter
      wdawes
      Date and time
      July 03, 2014, 11:06AM
    • 100% spot on: Abolish the senate.

      Although this wouldn't be necessary if parties respected election mandates. Sure, block a policy that wasn't taken to the election. But you have to respect the mandate of a majority elected government on issues they took to an election.

      Saying your people elected you with the opposite mandate doesn't cut it: you lost. Majority rules. If you can't accept that then we're in perpetual stalemate and we should abolish the senate.

      Commenter
      Gatsby
      Date and time
      July 03, 2014, 11:08AM
    • Shemp, the lower house is first past the post and is not proportional representation at all. The problem with upper house proportional representation is the back room preference deals. For me, keep proportional representation but get rid of these preference deals for both the upper and lower house.

      Commenter
      Dean
      Date and time
      July 03, 2014, 11:11AM

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