News & Current Affairs
13 March 2015
Palmer United Party official claims Glenn Lazarus quit after wife Tess was sacked
Lazarus quits Palmer United Party
Senator Glenn Lazarus resigns from PUP, declaring on his Facebook page:
"I have a different view of team work".
Senator Glenn Lazarus quit the Palmer United Party after his wife and chief of staff was fired, party boss Peter Burke claims.
Mr Burke made the claim in response to Senator Lazarus' shock resignation from the party, which leaves leader Clive Palmer with just one vote in the Senate via the reclusive West Australian senator Dio Wang.
In a statement issued in the early hours of Friday morning, Senator Lazarus wished Mr Palmer well but noted he had "a different view of team work".
But PUP national director Peter Burke said Senator Lazaurus' reasons for quitting were "self-evident" given his wife had just been fired for "failing to comply with the terms of her employment".
"Senator Lazarus' resignation followed thereafter, with the reason being self-evident," Mr Burke said in the statement.
"It is disappointing for thousands of members of the Palmer United Party that individuals have put their personal interests ahead of party principles and what can be achieved for Australia."
Mr Burke said he forwarded Senator Lazarus' wife, Tess, a letter of termination on Thursday afternoon.
Mrs Lazarus was endorsed as Palmer United Party's candidate for the Queensland state seat of Buderim.
At the time, the party issued a glowing statement highlighting her credentials and charity work.
She won 3,781 votes, about half of what Labor won in the very safe Liberal National Party seat.
Fairfax Media is seeking comment from Mrs Lazarus.
Senator Lazarus, the so-called "brick with eyes", is the second senator to leave the PUP kennel. In November, Jacqui Lambie resigned from the party to become an independent.
Senator Lambie declined to comment on Friday but said she wished Senator Lazarus and his staff all the best.
Senator Lazarus will now serve as an independent.
In his statement, Senator Lazarus wrote: "This was a difficult decision."
"I have a different view of team work. Given this, I felt it best that I resign from the party and pursue my senate role as an independent senator."
He said he was determined to do his best in representing Queensland in the Senate.
Senator Lazarus, who entered federal politics in 2013, also thanked Mr Palmer.
"I sincerely wish Clive and his family all the very best for the future," he said.
He added that he would miss working with his "esteemed colleague Senator Dio Wang".
Crossbench senator David Leyonhjelm told Fairfax Media Senator Lazarus' departure from the PUP had come as a "complete surprise" but said it was a "good thing."
"I didn't see it coming at all, it was a complete surprise. I thought he and Clive were a unity ticket," Senator Leyonhjelm said.
Senator Leyonhjelm predicted the two-man PUP partyroom could see Senator Wang exert his more "economically educated" views.
"Dio would often have a different view in that he would be inclined to support the government. He's more economically educated but he'd say afterward he was outvoted in the partyroom," he said.
But he said Clive Palmer's power had been weakened by the November departure of Senator Lambie, depriving him of enough Senate votes to block government legislation.
"The reality is the government has pretty much been at the point of having to deal with us one by one for a while now, this is a continuation of that direction."