If there is one thing Jacqui Lambie understands more than anyone else, it is that Tasmanians don't like being told what to do by mainlanders.
Outspoken, loud, TikTok sensation: these are things the woman from Devonport is used to being called. But a headache for the Prime Minister? No. She says more like a "bloody migraine".
"If Scott Morrison believes God made him Prime Minister, I believe God put me here to put a boot fair up his backside, and the rest of them," Senator Lambie said jokingly, in a sit-down interview with The Canberra Times.
As Australia's political arena heats up for an election, the staunchly fierce independent - who refuses to take money from lobby groups and the big end of town - could be the kingmaker, ultimately swaying the outcome one way or the other.
Often the Apple Isle is overlooked, with political commentators glued to the swings in bigger states such as Western Australia and Queensland.
But on the other side of the Bass Strait are two highly marginal seats that Scott Morrison must hold on to to remain in government, and Jacqui Lambie's network of independents is gunning for the balance of power.
The electorate of Braddon, which encompasses Tasmania's north-west, is Lambie heartland, and is currently held by Liberal MP Gavin Pearce on a margin of 3.1 per cent. Since the turn of the century it has swung back and forth between the two major parties.
The cities of Burnie and Devonport have been hit hard by the pandemic, losing tourist dollars from domestic and international border closures, and on top of that dealing with a housing affordability crisis which has pushed young people and low-income earners out of the property market.
Senator Lambie noted calls are coming in daily from Tasmanians unable to find affordable housing, prompting concerns homelessness in the north of the state is on the rise.
"There's no housing out there," she said.
"I am terribly concerned about the cost of living. This has also slowed down the public housing bill ... because there is more money in building private housing at the moment."
Moderate Liberal Bridget Archer, who sensationally crossed the floor to vote against her party and call for debate on an integrity commission bill last week, holds the seat on a razor-thin margin of 0.4 per cent. The narrow margin means a preference deal with Lambie could be highly lucrative.
Senator Lambie said any preference deal she would make with the major parties would be based on integrity, and who she thinks at the time would make a better leader.
"I'm just going to watch [the major parties'] performance. We work on integrity," she said.
"I want trust back in politics. Until we get a federal ICAC and we do something about those goddamn political donations that influence every bill that comes through this parliament, people are never going to have trust."
But Senator Lambie's biggest fight at the next election is in the Senate, where she is running a campaign to boot out conservative Liberal powerbroker Eric Abetz, who has been relegated to third on his party's ticket.
Lambie's office manager Tammy Tyrrell is hoping to join her in Parliament, in a bid to strengthen the power of the Senate crossbench.
She said Ms Tyrrell would not be her 2IC, but an equal independent.
"She's just equal," Senator Lambie said. "She knows how it all works up here."
Goddamn bloody adult
In the week of politics just been and gone, Lambie's speech slamming One Nation's attempts to prevent mandatory vaccinations went viral.
"Being held accountable for your own actions isn't called discrimination. It's called being - you wouldn't believe it - a goddamn bloody adult," Senator Lambie said last Monday, with the fiery catchphrase enamouring social media and the news headlines.
But her political career has not always been smooth sailing. She's been called out for anti-Islamic comments, being against same-sex marriage and controversially voting to repeal the medevac laws in a secret deal with the Coalition. Lambie is, however, the first person to say she is not perfect, and says she acknowledges her faults when needed - a move she says is what her voters are looking for within politics.
"People appreciate you acknowledging fault ... when you muck up, or change your mind," she said.
"[Voters] just want those grassroots values ... they are the Australian values."
Part of her appeal also comes from her openness with personal struggles.
Her grappling with mental health issues, living on welfare following her medical discharge from the army, and dealing with her son's substance abuse issues - which political opponents tried to exploit - have mirrored the experiences of others who grew up in working-class Tasmania.
Vindication on defence and veteran suicides
On Friday, a major milestone in Lambie's political career was achieved, with the first day of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide starting in Brisbane.
The senator is optimistic an independent body will help victims feel like they are being heard, which she hopes will improve accountability in Defence and Veterans' Affairs.
She noted department workers should be allowed to give evidence in camera on issues raised by the commissioners.
"It's giving people some trust that there is an independent body out there that's actually going to listen to them," she said.
"They're going to find out everything I've said over the years is absolutely true. But the biggest issue is the leadership within those departments."
It's an issue she hopes will cause a few migraines for the big wigs in Canberra.
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