Independent JLN Senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie has issued the following official statement and opinion piece after requests from media to make comment on Tasmanian Governor’s recent public criticism of One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson.
“I’ve met Governor Warner. She is a very respected, gracious, generous and intelligent woman with a long history of public service to Tasmania. Professor Warner is the Queen’s representative in Tasmania. And in doing the job of Governor is expected to follow the example set by the Queen.
Except in the gravest of constitutional emergencies - no matter what personal feelings the Queen has had about certain political matters, she has never publically criticised elected political leaders.
The UK parliament educational website simply explains the role of Governor and Monarch when it states: The Queen doesn’t get involved in running the government. Nor does she publically say what she thinks about political issues. This is why people sometimes say the Monarch is 'above politics'.
This is an example and standard that Governor Warner should have followed. The fact that Professor Warner has chosen to criticise publically an Australian elected political leader is extraordinary and almost without precedent. Unlike the past during the Whitlam era - we do not face a constitutional emergency. In fact, our Parliament is working reasonably well - with government legislation being passed.
No Queen’s representative (State Governor / Australian Governor-General) has any reason to criticise any legitimately elected member of any Australian Parliament. And as much as it pains me to say this about Professor Warner - the truth must be spoken.
When Professor Warner publically criticised Pauline Hanson, a leader of an Australian Political party, during a rally in Hobart – Governor Warner overreached her powers and undermined the role of Governor. She should apologise.
Governor Warner failed to follow a standard set by the Queen who is always neutral and above politics. Some may try and argue that this is a Freedom of Speech matter – it is not.
Professor Warner could have spoken about her passion for allowing Muslim Refugees into Australia and protecting their Human Rights - without directly naming any elected politician. The moment she named an elected Politician – Professor Warner crossed a line that damaged the office of Governor. She set a dangerous precedent and created awkward questions. (Does Professor Warner feel as passionate about Tasmania’s record public waiting lists for life saving surgery?)
It went from being Free Speech - to political interference by a Queen’s representative who should remain neutral in all political matters. If she wants to participate in the normal daily political discussions and exercise her right to free speech – then Professor Warner must resign her position as Queen’s representative and stand for elected political office.
As in the case of refugees - I would not always agree with her, but I have no doubt that a person with Professor Warner’s exceptional personal and professional qualities would be easily elected – and greatly improve our political system.” said Senator Lambie.