Like many others, Western Australian Labor Senator Pat Dodson stood up in Parliament today to farewell Jacqui Lambie, who resigned from the Senate after British authorities confirmed she is a UK dual citizen, as her father was born in Scotland.
But unlike others, Mr Dodson’s remarks came from a different place. The ‘Father of Reconciliation’ took the opportunity to point out how Ms Lambie’s Scottish heritage had brushed aside her Indigenous inheritance, as a result of a Constitution that fails to recognise Australia’s First Peoples.
“We don’t have a word that says goodbye in our language. We have a word that says ‘galiya’, ‘we’ll see you when we see you’. And this side of Jacqui’s heritage, her Indigenous side is what aggrieves me most to see her go,” he said as he choked up.
“Scottish, yes, Irish… everyone else here has all of those things. But the First Nations Peoples, the Indigenous peoples, whose history is caught up with her history, and it’s simply put to one side because we have a Constitution that refuses to recognise, to recognise the First Peoples.”
"Friends, we got some issues here. Let alone the recognition of the First Peoples, and today is a reminder that that side of Jacquie’s heritage is also being denied, as well as her rights as an Australian who fought for this country.”
Mr Dodson explained that while Ms Lambie shares ties to great peoples, he implied that, it’s unfair that one legacy was interpreted as more important than another due to the deficiencies of the Australian founding document.
“Today we have a Senator who has come from a terrible history [of] genocide, denial, on the one side, and a Scottish side no doubt links to Braveheart and other people.
“It’s an absolute tragedy that our Constitution was written by all these white folks that never bothered to consider and incorporate the First Peoples in it. And we have this legacy that we’re going to have to fix,” he added.
Watch: Pat Dodson's speech
Mr Dodson then addressed the Senate to say they now all have to bear the responsibility to take action and solve the Constitution’s shortcomings, after thanking Ms Lambie for her contributions.
“This is a moment, not only to recognize and praise you [Ms Lambie], as people have done today, and acknowledge the great work you’ve done for Tasmania, and for the veterans and for others, and the privilege of being in your company.
“But it’s also a day for us to not only think about our Constitution, with so many conservatives in this part of the world that it’s, ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it’, well, friends, we got some issues here. Let alone the recognition of the First Peoples, and today is a reminder that that side of Jacqui’s heritage is also being denied, as well as her rights as an Australian who fought for this country,” Senator Dodson concluded.
Watch: Jacqui Lambie's rise to politics
Jacqui Lambie has paid tribute to her father as she tearfully announced her resignation from the Senate after discovering her UK citizenship by descent.
The Tasmanian Senator asked the British Home Office for clarification of her status after Senate President Stephen Parry quit over citizenship doubts.
After the confirmation came back on Tuesday morning, Senator Lambie phoned her father - who arrived in Australia from Scotland as a child - to tell him and hours later made her announcement in a six-minute speech to parliament.