Rebel With A Cause, Jacqui Lambie

Jacqui Lambie made a name for herself in Australian politics, sometimes for the wrong reasons. She stormed into the senate as part of a new political party and soon afterwards left that party.

She added to her notoriety when she described her ideal man in an interview, in sexually straight forward terms.

rebelShe has also gained attention for some of her outspoken views on Sharia Law and the dress codes of Muslim women.

And yet despite the controversy and the teething problems experienced by someone new to politics, Lambie has an authenticity lacking in the career politicians taking up the majority of places within the Australian parliament.

She was someone willing to put in the time to learn how to get things done, and was not afraid to confront difficult issues, especially those things she knew from personal experience.

Prior to entering politics Lambie had served in the Australian Army, until her medical discharge just short of ten years service. A back injury sustained during that time put an end to her military career and started a decade long struggle with bureaucracy to be awarded due compensation and ongoing help.

A large portion of her autobiography/memoir details that struggle and how it eventually led to her considering a political career – to fight for the rights of similar casualties of the military bureaucratic system.

She writers:

The army is one big family, and you are trained to believe that your life depends on it. When you leave the army, you leave the family, and it is a process of bereavement. Why is leaving the army like mourning a death? You don’t belong to anything or anyone anymore.

Not only had she lost her career, but the very “family” she was required to leave seemed to fight against her afterwards, through the political institution that supposedly helped ex-servicemen and women to move on after their time of service ended.

The part of the book I had most difficulty with was a long section detailing her struggles with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, the majority of which consisted of copies of the ongoing correspondence between medical specialists, legal representatioves and the DVA.
I think that section would have been much more effective if it had been summarised by Lambie across a few pages, with the actual documentation being provided later as appendixes.

One of the other issues she addressed in the Senate was the very personal struggle she had with her younger son, revealing his addiction to ice in a one of her senate speeches. She wants to introduce the right for parents to enforce some kind of rehab upon drug affected children who are in no fit mental state to seek help for themselves.

Over time Lambie’s son did seek help. The source of that help was of particular interest to me. He turned to Teen Challenge, an organisation set up decades ago by well-known Christian minister David Wilkerson, subject of the 1960s book and 1970s film, The Cross and the Switchblade.

In the early 1980s I spent some time with Teen Challenge in the red light district of Sydney, reaching out to drug addicts and prostitutes. Later a friend and his family went to work fulltime at Teen Challenge’s rehabilitation centre in NSW.

Late last year Lambie lost her position in the Senate due to an archaic constitutional technicality after finding she had dual Australian, British citizenship through her Scottish father. That dual citizenship allegedly creates a conflict of national interest.  She was one of several victims of that out-dated clause in a constitution created when Australians were still considered British citizens and there was no difference between being Australian and being British.

She intends to stand again at the next election, hoping to win back her seat in the Senate. I hope she does well.
Despite disagreeing with some of her views, I think Australia needs down to earth, motivated, every day people as representatives in all tiers of government, as opposed to “career politicians” who’ve never had a real job outside of the political system.

Details at the publisher’s website:

4 thoughts on “Rebel With A Cause, Jacqui Lambie

  1. I can understand your view on this woman. I also have a lot of empathy for veterans. I do, however, want to caution you on the idea about people having “real” jobs outside of the political system or government. Military is government, for one thing, even if not supposed to be political. But the attitude and rhetoric about real jobs is how the U.S. finally got Trump.

    1. Trump has never had a real job in his life – and he was able to buy his way into the White House.
      A greater involvement from everyday people can only benefit a genuinely democratic political system, IF that system allows it.

      Whether those kind of changes can be genuinely implemented in the American system I don’t know. Maybe the corruption of big money has taken too much of a toll when political positons, even the the Presidency can be bought.

  2. I think a job is technically when someone else owns something and hires people (or a person) to do some work they want; the jobs are filled by hired or employed people. It’s possible to do work without having a “job” in other words… if the owner does something of actual value. But what Trump has mostly done is throw his inherited money around. He has failed overall repeatedly, not paid people (both when aiming for real goals and when declaring bankruptcy), and purposely threatened and cheated workers and the general population represented by government over and over. Employers, by the way, is another concept or word used to indicate superiority to government and politics (even though government does employ, and even though business involves politics, and even though personal interactions involve law too). [To get quite esoteric, persons who work — individually or cooperatively — on land, for instance, that is not owned by anyone are not employed or employers but are working and living real lives. This is in part to say I don’t believe indigenous people should be forced into employer-employed paradigms and ownership. I know you weren’t talking about that.]

    I was listening to a preacher recently who I thought had some good things to say, except he was obsessed with saying people who work for the government don’t work. So I didn’t share his talk (or a link). I’m just remembering that now (as I write). I think he started by putting down people in armed services (this corresponds to the lady veteran, whether it was his first go or a later one). Maybe I’ll see if I can find it. [Now I’ve tried, didn’t find it yet. I wish I could remember what search I had done, the main topic.] He told stories and gave descriptions, and I wondered if he’d not seen people in what he would call “real” jobs or “real” work doing those things (like taking smoke breaks). I certainly know of people acting in those ways in regular non-government jobs. But anyway, you have not infrequently indicated Australian politics can become like U.S. politics. And complaining about or denigrating politics and government work is one of the political tactics. I think the focus is better in a couple other things you said. One is “everyday people” (although that still might not get to the point, and I was stunned that voters could be against “the elite” but not consider a man who calls himself a billionaire elite).

    One of the most important and effective ways to try and correct our situation is to limit money in political campaigns. Maybe you guys already do that, and you’ll be okay. Making those limitations involves politics and law (then knowing that law and history and implementing it consistently). We also need to declare and trace and report money (where it’s coming from), again requiring politics and law (implementation, etc.) Politics is the means by which we accomplish higher values without physical fighting and just letting whoever is stronger and richer get their way. A helpful comparison might be that people (mainly conservatives, but sometimes anarchists) rail against global government while increasingly being* totally railroaded by global business and oligarchy that overwhelms their lives (unchecked, unwatched, unaccountable, unconcerned). Then it’s not only the time and endeavors during campaigns to get elected that matter; of course there have to be watching mechanisms in place (law and so on, people enforcing) to deter and punish bribery and other means of corruption. We also need a society that has a clue what corruption is in their bones. If life is making money, no one gets it any more.

    * We can’t well forget that those railing against global “government” or government in general often are the global aristocracy/oligarchy/elite.

  3. I have noticed that my last sentence before the asterisk line can be at least a double entendre. I had meant people don’t perceive corruption (“get it”). But what is happening with more and more emphasis on the race for money is fewer people get it.

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