In breaking news this afternoon, Senator Jacqui Lambie’s chief of staff has been expelled from the Palmer United Party (PUP), the ABC reports.
“Everything Senator Lambie says is really coming from her chief of staff,” Clive Palmer said in a statement.
“Last night our executive met and we have agreed to expel Rob Messenger from the party on the grounds of making false and misleading statements about our Senators.”
The move — which will inflame existing tensions within the balance-of-power voting bloc– follows Lambie’s criticism of party leader Clive Palmer in interview with the ABC’s Leigh Sales.
Here’s what went down in that controversial interview on the ABC’s 7:30 last night…
By LEIGH SALES and JAMES GLENDAY
Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie says the Palmer United Party will only avoid fracturing if leader Clive Palmer adopts more of her policy positions.
In a blistering interview broadcast on the 7.30 program, Senator Lambie said she was unable to endorse the performance of either Mr Palmer or her fellow PUP senators.
“One thing I won’t do is lie to the Australian people and I’m not going to sit here and make my PUP senators or Clive Palmer look good when I’m not feeling that way about them,” she said.
“I won’t do that… I just don’t feel like they’re helping me out. So if that means I’ve got to go it alone under the PUP flag then so be it, I’ll just run it alone.”
Senator Lambie and Mr Palmer publicly clashed earlier this week over the Senator’s call for people to turn their backs on Liberal MPs during Remembrance Day ceremonies to express anger about a controversial pay deal for defence personnel.
Mr Palmer said it was inappropriate to use such functions for political protest.
Senator Lambie said there was dissatisfaction within the party about Mr Palmer’s style of leadership.
“That just doesn’t seem to be on the table to talk about,” she said.