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Lambie Says Coalition MPs Are "Rich Kids" With A Silver Spoon Up Their Arse

BuzzFeed News spoke to one of the only cross-bench senators tipped to survive a brutal double dissolution election.

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"I think for Tasmania, in a roundabout way, Tony Abbott worked better as Prime Minister."

Mick Tsikas / AAPIMAGE

Speaking to BuzzFeed News in her senate offices, Senator Jacqui Lambie is coming up on two years in politics and has admitted while she isn't a fan, Tony Abbott was a better PM for her state.

There's a simple reason: he's more relatable than Malcolm Turnbull.

"There's a real disconnect between what's going on on the ground and how the Liberal party thinks. Because they're just a bunch of rich kids," said Lambie.

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The 45-year-old has emerged as a powerful voice on the Senate cross-benches, not least because she's a chance to win back her seat if both houses are dissolved and a July 2 election is held.

Leading her new party - The Jacqui Lambie Network (The JLN) - she'll only need half the amount of votes than at a standard election. Adding to that, she's from the country's smallest state, meaning she really doesn't need many votes to be returned.

"Honestly, you just want to grab them and say 'get off your pedestal sweetheart and come down and put your boots on'."

Stefan Postles / Getty Images

She thinks the Coalition's struggles to communicate with the cross-bench, which the government has described as "hostile" and "feral", comes down to a "silver spoon" mentality.

"They really struggle to communicate, the Liberal party. I don't even think I've ever had a National up to my office."

"I think it's because they were born with a silver spoon up their rear end."

For Lambie, the best possible outcome of a double dissolution election in July would be a Labor/Greens coalition government with herself, Nick Xenophon and Glenn Lazarus holding the balance of power in the Senate.

AAP / Tania McMurty

Her aim is to get three Lambie candidates up in the Senate, and hopes Xenophon and Lazarus also pick up a few seats.

"Let's get the balance of power and say 'righto, let's play'," she says.

She thinks the Coalition government has been its own worse enemy because it hasn't bothered negotiating with her over her pet issues of veterans affairs, Tasmanian jobs or reconciliation.

Lambie confirms with BuzzFeed News the feelings of many of the eight within the Senate balance of power – that consultation with the cross-bench shut down a long time ago.

"It's a pity they weren't as productive over the last two years as [Employment Minister] Michaelia Cash has been over the past few days, otherwise it could have been a completely different outcome."

But if she had it her way, neither of the major parties would be in power.

"I'm still not keen on either Turnbull or Shorten, I'll be honest about that. We don't have much of a leadership talent pool in Parliament."

Stefan Postles / Getty Images

And in bad news for Julie Bishop and Tanya Plibersek, Lambie doesn't rate the deputies waiting in the wings as good replacements either.

"When I look around up here I go 'Oh dear, we've got a real problem'."

Alice Workman is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Canberra.

Contact Alice Workman at alice.workman@buzzfeed.com.

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