Jacqui Lambie Network senate candidate Tammy Tyrrell looks likely to be elected to the Senate, with the ABC reporting she is the most likely candidate to take the state’s sixth Senate spot.
While votes continue to be counted, it is looking like Tyrrell will take the place of long-time Liberal Senator Eric Abetz, who has held a Senate seat for Tasmania for 28 years.
Since the 1990s, Abetz has been a conservative powerbroker in the Liberal Party, opposing issues like same-sex marriage. For the federal election, he was demoted on the Liberal Party’s Tasmanian Senate ticket to third place.
Tammy Tyrrell, who has previously been Senator Jacqui Lambie’s office manager, is a Tasmanian local who has distinguished herself as different from a “usual” political candidate.
“What you see is what you get. I’m honest, I’m frank, I’m genuine. I live in the real world, and we need more people from the real world in parliament,” Tyrell said during the campaign.
Posting Tyrrell’s campaign video to social media, Lambie described Tyrrell as “a mate”.
“She’s a fighter, she’s got her heart in the right place. And she’d make a hell of a Senator,” Lambie said.
In the campaign video, Tyrrell’s voiceover can be heard saying: “Most people don’t spend a lot of time thinking about politics. Most people are busy, raising kids, paying the mortgage, driving home from work, tired, hoping you don’t back into a car”.
“I get that. I’ve been there myself,” Tyrrell said.
“Politicians talk about a health care crisis. My mum died, on a surgery waiting list. About creating jobs. I’ve driven strangers to job interviews, just to help them find work. They talk about. I’ve lived it. That’s why I’m running for the Senate.”
In a post to Instagram, Tyrrell said she’s spent her working life looking out for other people, and wants to look after Tasmania in Canberra.
“Like Jacqui, I won’t talk political BS. I’m not there to play games. I’ll be there to make sure Tassie gets its fair share.”
Tyrrell says she has worked in offices, factories and paddocks, and has spent a lot of her working life helping people get into work.
“I’ve driven them to their job interview myself. I’ve talked them through the nerves, and I’ve seen them get the job…All I changed was how they felt about themselves.”
Abetz has not yet conceded, with votes still to be counted and Tyrrell said she isn’t getting ahead of herself.
“Eric has run a massive below-the-line campaign and as much as I’d like to believe this seat is in the bag, I know better than to count my chickens before they’ve hatched. He hasn’t lasted 28 years without knowing how to win. Let’s wait and see,” she wrote on Twitter.