Tasmanian firebrand Senator Jacquie Lambie may have done herself out of a second Senate seat in the upcoming election, many say, after choosing her former office manager Tammy Tyrell, as her endorsed candidate.
Tyrell is a working-class woman from North Tasmania, ostensibly with the same appeal as Lambie – and looking eerily like her – and is said to have been an efficient and committed staffer. But Tasmanian sources say she may lack the oomph to get over the line.
Lambie, who doesn’t come up for re-election until 2024/25, regained her Senate seat last time, after she was knocked out of her first term by Section 44. She had to win it back without Clive Palmer’s money, which hd backed her first time around, and she did it by campaigning for eighteen months flat, turning up every church fete, dog show and tractor pull on the Apple Isle, until people told her to stop coming. That very un-Tasmanian enthusiasm got her over the line – and that’s pretty much what it takes.
Tyrell is said to be reluctant to make that sort of commitment. That would be an own goal, because Tassie’s about the only place you can get a Senate seat just through stumping around (a half-Senate quota is around 40,000 votes; Lambie easily shook that many hands during her second election).
Politically, Lambie is all over the shop, though she has moved steadily leftward in recent years. Tyrell is less of a known quantity. But if she fails, almost anyone could get up.
Those vying include the new Local Party, a network of community independents – and Senator Eric Abetz, dumped from the Libs top spot, and running a vote 1, below-the-line insurgency. If Eric makes it, he could get the Coalition closer to the magic 38 (Senate control) than they’ve been in years.