It’s been nine months since Jacqui Lambie and Yassmin Abdel-Magied’s passionate exchange about Islam on Q&A.
“Islam to me, is the most feminist religion,” the engineer turned writer told the ABC program. “We don’t take our husband’s last names because we ain’t their property… What is culture is separate from what is faith.”
Then came the Tasmanian Senator’s since-heavily replayed volley: “The fact is that there is one law in this country, and it’s NOT Sharia law.”
Looking back on the exchange during an appearance on The Project on Thursday night, Lambie echoed what she told Mamamia‘s No Filter podcast at the time: the ensuing backlash against Abdel-Magied went too far.
“Well, she took me on and I came out on Mamamia and said I did feel for her,” Lambie told host Waleed Aly.
“She was getting belted out there. Still she has not handled that, I don’t think, as well as what she should. In saying that, she’s still quite young, and we learn from our mistakes.”
Despite conceding the character of the debate “could have been better”, Lambie told the Channel 10 program she has no regrets about its content.
“There is one law and one law only, that is Australian law,” she said. “This country needs to learn there’s nothing wrong with bringing up a subject and putting it across the table and speaking about it, but respecting each other’s views and trying to get it out so we can sort it out.”
Mia Freedman talks to Jacqui Lambie on No Filter. (Post continues below.)
While the exchange undoubtedly boosted the profiles of both women, it proved to be the first of many controversies that clung to Abdel-Magied in 2017. The most substantial of which being a tweet she posted on ANZAC Day, which read: “Lest. We. Forget. (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine…)”.
In her own appearance on The Project on Wednesday night, the Sudanese-born writer described how the intense public and media blowback from those events affected her relationship with Australia.
“It is hard. It is like dating an abusive guy,” she told the panel.
“You love a lot of things about them, but they hurt you deep. So what do you do? What do you tell people? Do you tell them about the great times you had, about how grateful you were for all of the good stuff? Or do you tell them about how they traumatised you in a way that you will never be the same for?”
Lambie’s 2017 hasn’t been the smoothest, either. The independent senator was forced to resign from parliament earlier in November after she discovered her dual Australian-UK citizenship made her ineligible to serve.
She has plans to run again, however, come the next election.
“It’s really important that people see that I’m still upright, I’m still standing,” she told 7.30 on Thursday.
“I’ve got my boots back out and I’m going back to get that bloody seat that I had taken off me.”