POLITICS

Dual Citizenship: Tears And Strength As Jacqui Lambie Resigns As A Senator

The Tasmanian has been confirmed as a dual British citizen.

14/11/2017 1:02 PM AEDT | Updated 14/11/2017 2:09 PM AEDT
Andrew Meares/Fairfax
Jacqui Lambie: "It has been an absolute pleasure to represent my country again. Just not this time in uniform."

CANBERRA -- And now a senator no more.

Jacqui Lambie's four-year and oft-controversial run as a Tasmanian Senator has come to an end with an emotional resignation speech to federal parliament.

Hours earlier on Tuesday she confirmed what had been widely whispered around the Senate. The former army veteran, one time Clive Palmer protegee and now fiercely independent politician with Indigenous heritage was a dual British citizen thanks to a Scottish-born father.

"I haven't been able to sleep for days," she began, already overcome with tears. "Ever since my citizenship has a question mark next to it."

A deep drawing of breath. Then, "There is no question mark any more".

"It is with great regret that I have to inform you that I had been found in eligible by way of dual citizenship," Lambie told parliament.

"I love my father to death and hope to not blame him for this.

"He has done nothing for which to apologise and he has been my strongest supporter, my loudest cheer squad and my closest adviser. It is not because of him that I am leaving this place. It is because of him that I am here in the first place."

Lambie kept going, detailing what made her most proud of her time in the senate, securing the extension of Hydro in Tasmania, winning a pay deal for the Australian Defence Force and standing up for Australia's most needy.

"I am proud to have been the single vote that torpedoed a savage package of welfare cuts," she said.

"Unlike some in this place, they say they are for the battler. I actually refused to deliver the budget into surplus by driving struggling families further into poverty."

But she is disappointed to leave now and not help more people. Lambie outlined how she would vote in upcoming legislation and warned the Turnbull government not to be tempted to use her absence as an opportunity.

"To do so would be a mistake," she warned. "While I may not be here, the Jacqui Lambie network should still be represented."

"The truth is there is so much more I wanted to do here and I hope to get another chance to keep going at it. But the truth is that is not up to me."

"It has been an absolute pleasure to represent my country again. Just not this time in uniform. So, thank you."

Andrew Meares/Fairfax
Pauline Hanson embraces Jacqui Lambie

Later at a press conference she was more blunt.

"Right now, I am not showing the love for the bagpipes, I will be honest with you," Lambie told reporters in Canberra.

And what did she say to her dad this morning?

"I said, dad, I said, you are a dual citizen. And I'm your daughter and I love you," she revealed.

"And I am also a dual citizen. So it's game over."

Despite her resignation the Lambie case needs to be referred to the High Court for official determination. The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is also expected to hold a special Tasmanian senate recount to determine her replacement.

The man likely to replace her in the Senate is the number two on the Jacqui Lambie Network ticket in the 2016 election, current Devonport mayor Steve Martin.

He's a man she describes as a "great bloke".

"He has the fire in the belly, although he likes to be a little bit more conservative than I do. I'm prepared to let loose a little bit more," she said.

Lambie has indicated her political career is not over. Her party is registering for the next Tasmanian state election and she said on Tuesday that she would have a look at the federal lower house Tasmanian seat of Braddon "should Justine Keay go down" -- a reference to the citizenship question marks over the Tasmanian Labor MP.

"You can't keep a bloody Lambie down. So I'm going to have another swing at it and we will see how we go this time," she told Tasmanian radio, 89.3 LAFM Launceston.

Lambie is now expected to return to Tasmania to work out her future.

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