29 May 2016
by Latika Bourke

Jacqui Lambie lashes Cory Bernardi on Kitchen Cabinet

Jacqui Lambie chats to Annabel Crabb over a meal of Tasmanian salmon and salad.

Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie has hit out at conservative Liberal senator Cory Bernardi, describing the South Australian as displaying a "born with a silver spoon up my rear end" attitude and referring to him as an "arsehole".

A self-deprecating Senator Lambie, who appeared on the ABC's Kitchen Cabinet on Thursday night, also called for Tasmania's parliamentary representation to be halved, with the number of Senate seats to be slashed from 12 to six. She joked she had only won her seat because of her extended family - her mother has 19 siblings.

"How do you think I won my seat? We're all related down here in Tasmania," the senator from Burnie joked.

The former soldier, who has openly discussed her battles with depression, a suicide attempt and past addiction to pain killers, proved to be one of host Annabel Crabb's more natural guests, showing off her ball gown collection, which she said she kept to show that women in the military can carry a weapon in the day but still frock up at night.

Senator Lambie did not shy away from her attempts to stand up to men in the army by taking a swing at them, even though she came off second best.

"Once you do that once or twice they won't come near you," she confided.

Revealing while she'd never resorted to the biff in the Senate, she singled out one senator she had been tempted to take on.

"Bernardi. He's just an arsehole. Typical 'I'm born with a silver spoon up my rear end'," she said.

The Coalition and Greens recently passed legislation to prevent preference swapping to stop Senator Lambie's crossbench colleagues such as Victorian Ricky Muir and South Australian Bob Day being elected with barely any primary votes and via elaborate preference swap deals instead.

Cooking Tasmanian salmon and a basic salad made with ingredients from a work-for-the-dole project, the mother-of-two did not resile from her controversial decision to out her son as an ice addict, describing it as the "best thing I ever did."

"Because first of all, it's got my son help. Which he probably would not have got."

Senator Lambie said she still sees her psychologist every eight weeks and revealed she had to take a psychological test before entering the Senate.

"Mine says I'm very normal, by the way, so I'd like to see what all those other senators, what their psych tests come back and say," she said.

Senator Lambie was the first to fall out with Mr Palmer's Palmer United Party but said there were valid reasons she joined his movement after approaching him to ask what he would do for veterans.

"Clive said 'I'm happy to support you but you'll have to run under our banner' because I was actually hoping he may just support me running as an independent and that was never going to happen," she recounted.

She defended her reasons for joining the PUP but she realised on day three that it wouldn't work.

"I think I was like everybody else. I thought, 'Wow, this is someone, it's not the normal major political parties, there's a bit of hope here. Someone that's going come in and do things very, very differently.'"

But she said the situation deteriorated after their first party room meeting.

"You couldn't suggest anything, you couldn't get over the table... so, you know, within that first week, I learned how it was either his way or the highway," she said.

Since Senator Lambie quit the PUP, Queenslander Glenn Lazarus also walked, leaving West Australian Zhenya "Dio" Wang as the only PUP representative in the upper chamber.

Mr Palmer has all but conceded his party will be wiped out at the next election and will not contest his lower house seat of Fairfax.

Senator Lambie said her supporters did not resent her decision to walk from the party banner under which she was elected.

"I didn't hear it in Tasmania. They were glad for me to leave. They said, 'Do a runner!'" she declared.