Steve Martin, the independent Tasmanian senator, has joined the National Party. He replaced Jacqui Lambe, the former senator from Tasmania post the latter's resignation over issues concerning her dual citizenship. He was thrown out from her JLN (Jacqui Lambe Network) party as he did not move aside to make way for her to go back to Parliament.
With Senator Martin joining the coalition, it means the Federal Government must manage eight crossbench votes in Upper House. Only by fulfilling this condition can they pass legislation sans the support of the Labor party.
Martin is a seasoned politician. He was Mayor of Devonport prior to his foray into federal politics. He said that he is extremely proud to be here, for the maiden time in about 90 years, to be part of the National party in Tasmania. Michael McCormack, the Deputy Prime Minister, and the leader of his new party, said an interesting analogy when he welcomed the former into the fold. He compared Martin to a Tasmanian Tiger. The animal was last spotted in 1936. He added that William McWilliams was the last member of the National Party to be sent to parliament from Tasmania in 1927.
It is natural that Ms. Lambie was not flattering. She argued that Tasmania had suffered too much self-interested politicians during the recent years. She made the remark that the whole scenario appears like a convenience marriage between two desperate parties- the rudderless Nationals and Australia's loneliest senator. She pointed out that Tasmania has suffered too many selfish politicians. The Nationals, she claimed, had an extremely poor record in the region. The party tried three times to establish a presence but woefully failed.
Senator Martin is undaunted by all such allegations. He said that he continues to have the opportunity of crossing the floor. He hinted that he might vote against the policies formulated by his new party in case he does not agree with the party policies. This statement was not taken kindly by Anthony Albanese, the Labor frontbencher. He said that he cannot agree with politicians switching parties prior to competing in an election. He said that Martin was a member of the JLN, meaning he had twice switched parties. Albanese told the media that he is enough old-fashioned to believe that voters expect respect from the people they send to parliament. Elected representatives cannot just switch sides prior to the permission of these voters.