HECTORIA: This week, PSHIFT interviewed the ‘Brick with Eyes’, Glenn Lazarus, Senator for Qld after his vote against the Australian Building and Construction Commission bill triggered a double dissolution election.
Can you please introduce yourself?
Lazarus: My name is Glenn Lazarus. I represented NSW in Rugby League state of origin football and now I represent Queensland in the Federal Senate.
HECTORIA: How did this strange twist come about?
Lazarus: Clive Palmer approached me saying that he wanted to put together a team to take on the LNP. I told him I was in.
HECTORIA: Did you know Palmer from football before this?
Lazarus: Only that he owned a soccer club on the Gold Coast.
HECTORIA: Were you worried that you may become part of a personal vendetta against then Premier of Qld Campbell-Newman because his government gave Gina Rinehart the nod to develop the Galilee Basin coal reserves?
Lazarus: At the time I thought that was what politics was all about.
HECTORIA: What changed your mind?
Lazarus: I have a different view of team-work. Given this, I felt it best that I resign from Palmer United Party and pursue my role as an independent Senator.
HECTORIA: What do you mean?
Lazarus: Palmer turned against his own team-mates, I will miss working with my esteemed colleague Senator Dio Wang from Western Australia.
HECTORIA: Since your resignation from Palmer United Party you have given support to a number of causes.
Lazarus: Since my resignation from Palmer United I have sought to give protection in the Senate to average workers, the sick, our pensioners, the uni students and disabled. This Liberal government wants to take away so much.
HECTORIA: Why did you speak out against the China Free Trade agreement?
Lazarus: Because it means flooding Australia with cheap labour and taking jobs offshore.
HECTORIA: You supported the Yabulu nickel workers in Townsville?
Lazarus: Clive Palmer is a bully who has done the wrong thing by those workers.
HECTORIA: Will you be running against Clive Palmer in the Senate?
Lazarus: Clive hasn’t tipped his hand yet, but it wouldn’t surprise me. I think I have a better chance of winning a spot in the Senate than Clive.
HECTORIA: You supported John Lomax an organiser with the CFMEU when he was falsely charged with blackmail by the Canberra DPP, why?
Lazarus: John Lomax is a good bloke, we played together at the Raiders and the CFMEU is trying to protect the safety of its members on the job.
HECTORIA: This week your vote opposing the government’s ABCC bill was crucial. The vote was lost 36-34 in the senate. What do you say to Malcolm Turnbull’s claims this week that the CFMEU is guilty of “lawlessness, corruption and waste in the construction industry”?
Lazarus: I want a national building industry watchdog, not the ABCC which is garbage. I want to sleep at night and if I voted for the ABCC in its current form, I wouldn’t be able to.
HECTORIA: You have clearly learnt a lot while being a Queensland Senator. Your partner, Tess Sanders, worked in Human Resources in Commonwealth Government departments.
Lazarus: Tess held various positions with the Australian Taxation Office in both Canberra and Brisbane …
HECTORIA: … You wife was a national Director in GST at a time when the Howard government was making public servants redundant. How do you feel about her sacking workers?
Lazarus: This interview is over.
HECTORIA: There you have it listeners, mate against mate, political positioning, personal hypocrisy, and opportunism … all’s fair in the democratic state.