Senator Jacqie Lambie broke down in Parliament Wednesday night while sharing her personal experiences living off a disability support pension for seven years, while raising two kids as a single mother.
Lambie made the speech to protest freezing indexation of Family Tax Payments, which is being done as part of the Social Services Legislation Amendment Bill.
She opened up about what it felt like to be at the “bottom of the crap pile”.
“There were times I cried because I felt so ashamed because I didn’t know how I was going to afford bread and milk,” she said.
“There were times when I had to say no to my son.”
— Jacqui Lambie (@JacquiLambie) March 22, 2017
Lambie said she used an esky for weeks when her fridge broke down because she was unable to afford to pay the repairs. She said she drove around without a licence on two occasions because she couldn’t afford to renew it. She added there were three separate occasions when she drove around with an unregistered car because she couldn’t afford the rego.
She said that in 2006, she was close to losing her house, but was able to avoid going bankrupt by pleading to a senator for help on releasing her superannuation.
“This is what it is like. It is not a choice. It is shameful and it is embarrassing, and it is bloody tough,” she said.
“For you to take more money off those people, you have no idea how bloody tough it is. Every little cent counts to these people, what you are doing is shameful. If you really realised the damage you are doing to that part of society you would stop doing it.
“We’re not living. We’re surviving. We’re in a bloody warzone and we’re surviving.”
Lambie said she had no choice but to go to Centrelink for help, and noted how “shameful” it was given she’d worked since the age of 10.
Australian independent senator Jacqui Lambie’s speech about living on the disability support pension as a single mother… watch it: pic.twitter.com/NHX1pJtJGm
— Mark Di Stefano 🤙🏻 (@MarkDiStef) March 23, 2017