Jacqui Lambie resigns from Palmer United Party


Senator Jacqui Lambie has resigned from the Palmer United Party, pledging to put Tasmania first.

Outspoken Senator Jacqui Lambie has resigned from the Palmer United Party, a fortnight after tensions emerged with party leader Clive Palmer. 

In a statement to the Senate, the Tasmanian Senator said she would stand as an independent.

She said she been urged to “put the best interests of Tasmania first”.

“Being a member of Palmer United has prevented me from voting in this chamber in a manner that gives my Tasmania the best chance of recovering and once again becoming prosperous," she said.

Senator Lambie urged Prime Minister Tony Abbott to rethink his pay negotiations with Defence Force members, adding that she would "never vote for the government’s proposed changes to higher education and Medicare co-payments".

She will also vote against proposed social services changes.

She also stated that she wished to end her personal feud with Mr Palmer, wishing him and "his beautiful family, staff and friends all the very best".

“I don’t have the time or the energy to be drawn into a political mudslinging contest," she said.

"I will not be drawn into the game of responding to hurtful and false personal attacks.”

Mr Palmer reportedly received her resignation around 10am on Monday, around six weeks after Senator Lambie first started thinking about leaving the party.

Senator Lambie's split from the party effectively axes the Palmer United Party's balance of power in the Senate, which consists of 18 crossbenchers. Of those crossbenchers, two now remain with Palmer United. 

Senator Lambie told media that she would enter into discussions with other crossbench senators. It has previously been reported that Senator Lambie was in discussions with Senators Bob Day and David Leyonhjlem regarding forming a voting bloc. 

She has not ruled out working with the Palmer United Party as an independent.

"Clive Palmer has great vision for Australia," she said.

"My door is open... I'll work alongside him."

'She thinks she's bigger than Australia'

Her resignation follows an appearance by Mr Palmer on Channel Seven’s Sunrise program, where he told viewers that Senator Lambie was “making things up”.

The party leader made a number of personal attacks on Senator Lambie over previous days, criticising her for early controversial comments to a radio station and that she had to answer questions about when she was receiving a disability pension.

“I think she thinks she's bigger than Australia,” he said.

The pair's public spat began on November 11, when Mr Palmer refused to back the Senator in her campaign against the government on Remembrance Day.

She later told media that she would leave the party if asked, stating that her party colleagues needed to “pull their socks up".

Mr Palmer then expelled Senator Lambie’s chief of staff Rob Messenger after a meeting with the party executive.

Mr Palmer has posted a statement on Facebook, describing her as "a person of questionable honesty".

Mr Palmer also commented on the role the party played in her election to the Senate.

"The facts are that Jacqui Lambie was elected to the Senate by 22,000 Tasmanians that voted above the line for the Palmer United Party," he said.

"She received only 1500 odd votes herself."

Mr Palmer also accused Senator Lambie of seeking to "undermine the interests of the Australian people" in the statement, which was issued to the media on Sunday.

An updated statement is yet to be publicised.

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