By KATE LEAVER
Arguably the country’s most unlikely politician, Senator Jacqui Lambie is a walking disaster. She’s crass, thoughtless, and candid to a fault. Not to mention inflammatory, racist, and lewd.
If you’ve been playing along at home, you’ll know that Lambie is the elected member of the federal parliament who thought it was appropriate to talk about wanting a “well-hung man with plenty of cash” on live radio. She thinks we need to start aiming missiles at China before they invade Australia. And she wants bumble bees and mushroom farmers to be a national priority.
Many people think she’s a disgrace. Others think she’s an elaborate practical joke on the Australian public.
But as usual, there’s more to the story. This politician is far more than her public mistakes.
As the ABC’s Australian Story showed last night, Jacqui Lambie has been through a lot.
Jacqui Lambie was once a corporal in the Australian army, working for a decade in our nation’s military. You can tell when she’s talking about her service that she felt noble and important in that position. She loved it.
Lambie lost that rank of corporal when she drunkenly assaulted a fellow soldier and then in 1997, she injured her back. Her injury mean that Lambie was ultimately medically discharged from the army and ended up on the disabilities pension.
Jacqui Lambie in the army (photo: ABC)
And that’s when her life began to spin out of control.
Lambie became depressed and started abusing alcohol and prescription drugs. At the time, she told the ABC, her young son Dylan became her primary carer. She was debilitated, alone, and as she sees it, left behind by the very people she had served for ten years.
In 2009, Jacqui drank and drank until she thought it was a good idea to walk out onto a main road straight in front of a car. She was badly scarred from the incident, and lost two teeth. Last night was the first time she’s ever spoken publicly about that suicide attempt.
Jacqui Lambie with her son, Dylan.
Now that you know all of this, does it change the way you think about Jacqui Lambie? Sure. At least, it does for me.