ABOUT THE JACQUI LAMBIE NETWORK
We think politics needs to be different.
Our mission is to make that happen.
We think politics needs to be different.
Our mission is to make that happen.
Help us to build something great.
This is our vision —
A Parliament filled with people from all walks of life.
Who serve their community, and only their community.
Who ask people what they think, rather than telling them how to think.
Who demand the highest standards of honesty, accountability and decency.
Who can’t be defanged or demoted, corrupted or controlled, bought or sold.
Who are there to make big things happen for the little guy.
We’ve all heard it. People’s trust in politics is at all-time lows.1
But we pay hundreds of billions a year into a pool of money that’s spent by politicians. We trust them with hundreds of billions, but we don’t trust anything they say.
Political parties spend all their time tearing each other down. Every bad thing that happens is the fault of the other team. If it rains too hard, it’s the other guy. If it doesn’t rain enough, blame those guys.
We go to the polls every couple of years ready to kick out the current mob in the hope the other lot will do a better job. Never mind they were only in a few years ago. We hold our noses, we pray they’ve learned their lessons, we do the deed and we scramble off to our democracy sausages.
Then we’re disappointed. And we do it all over again.
We’re going to have to do something differently, if we want something different to happen. The idea that there’s only two parties able to decide what makes this a better country is laughable.
We’re trying to do something about about it
We believe politics is a good thing. That’s hard to believe, but we think it’s true.
It’s hard to believe because the way most people think about politics is awful. That’s fair enough. Most of what you see is pretty awful. But that’s not how it has to be.
We’re based around three core values. When we say politics needs to change, this is what we mean.
Politics should be open to everyone.
Right now, we elect politicians every election. Those politicians go to Canberra, get told how to vote, practice avoiding questions and try to get promoted within their parties by being a good ‘team player’.
That’s crazy. Where do the people who elected them fit into this picture?
We live our values. Jacqui runs open surveys letting members of the public have a say on how she should vote on key pieces of legislation. She takes meetings with everyone, constantly. She’s up front with people when she doesn’t have all the answers.
We want Parliament to actually reflect the population. That takes more than gender quotas. Where’s the quota for regular people?
Right now the only way regular people can get a foothold in politicis is if they join a major party and agree to park their conscience at the door. Team players.
If you want to represent your community, you’ve got to find the money to do it. How many normal people have tens of thousands of dollars to spend on a political campaign to be able to compete with the big players?
What are we supposed to do?
The Jacqui Lambie Network exists to support people from all walks of life, getting something better out of politics, as well as getting in to politics.
When big decisions are getting made, people should know what’s going on beyond the headlines and behind the scenes. Politics should be accessible, in every sense of the word.
It should be understandable. If you don’t get it, it’s because politicians are doing a lousy job of communicating it. It’s their failing, not yours.
Politicians should be available. You should be able to get decent, quality representation from the people with the hide to call themselves your representative. If you need their help, you should get an audience.
Politics should be transparent. You should know who’s funding what. You should know what’s going on when a politician holds a fundraiser. You should know what’s going on in your name.
And finally — politics should be open! You shouldn’t need to have been a staffer or a union hack to be able to represent your community in Parliament. If you care about helping people, and you’re willing to work damn hard to do it, you’d make a fine politician. You should be able to have a go. You should be able to win. We want to help you.
Politics should be about giving a leg up to the little guy.
Not everyone needs help from politics, and politics is just one tool that’s avilabale to help people. Not every problem can or should be solved by a politician. Some problems are better left to other tools.
But some problems need politicians to fix, and often, it’s because they’re problems created by politicians.
There’s a huge amount of time spent working to benefit donors and lobbyists.
Poor people don’t have a lobbyist. Working class voters aren’t massive donors.
But they’re just as deserving as anybody else. And they’re being left out in the cold.
Every time a decision is made that makes life easier for the well-off, cracks in our social fabric break open.
And people get stuck there. People get left behind.
They get stuck in a place where their living standards remain set in stone while the rest go forward, getting richer.
Politics has a tremendous power to be a force for good in the world, if it’s used right. Politics can lift people out of poverty and change people’s lives. It can make people better than they are. It can give people the chance to live lives they never thought possible.
And every day politicians spend not doing that — not realising the genuine power to make a difference — is a day they’re not deserving of that power.
We want to change that. We put the little guy at the haert of everything we do.
That leg up? That’s opportunity.
We don’t promise everyone will take full advantage of it. No genuine person can promise that. But what we’re talking about is the difference between giving someone a fighting shot and tying their hands behind their back. We want to take the foot off people’s heads.
Be suspicious of power.
Politics is about power. It defines what we’re able to do, and who’s able to do it. It defines our approach to picking our fights. The more powerful you are, the less likely we are to help you. If you’ve got no power at all but you need help, we’re here for you.
Power is corrupting. Punters come to us with a problem, we’ll do what we can to fix it. When a Minister comes to us with a problem, they’re going to have a harder time. Because we’re not here to help them. We’re here to help the ones who don’t have the power in Australia.
We don’t want the rules being written by big business or massive unions. We don’t want the way the country’s run being decided by a handful of out-of-touch career politicians locked away in safe seats. We want small players to have more power, and big players to have less. Because if you’ve got too much power, we don’t trust you not to abuse it.
So when a bill comes before us, we ask ourselves: who wants this? Who needs this? Who benefits from this? Who’s behind this?
It’s because we ask those questions that we don’t just wave things through the Parliament. We take it seriously. We do the job of asking those sorts of questions that the big parties often fail to ask. We scrutinise, we review, we consider, we ask questions.
We don’t think power is a bad thing, and we’re unapologetic about saying we want to get it. But the difference is, with it, we want to share it. We know that power is too concentrated in the uncalloused hands of Canberra. We want you to have more of it, and them to have less of it.
We don’t shy away from campaigning hard to make that happen. Our difference is that we’re clear about what we want to do with power, and it’s what we want to do with it that makes us want it. We don’t want it just to keep the other team from having it. We don’t want any team to have it. We want to break down the silos that have been created by a political class for their own benefit. We want in, and we want everyone to be our plus one.
How we do politics
We’re building a different kind of party
Old parties are built around members. That model is dying. People don’t want to turn up to dingy pubs every Tuesday night to debate the rules around how to debate the rules at the next meeting. They certainly don’t want to pay $50 a month for the privilege of doing so.
We think one of the big reasons the old membership model doesn’t work is because it signs members up to accepting every part of a party’s platform. It’s built on this idea that the party exists as this big, singular thing, and if you like it, you sign up, and if you don’t, you kiss off.
It shuts down diversity. it demands allegiance. And if you’re passionate about one thing, but you’re on the fence about something else, you’re left in the cold.
We’re trying something completely different.
We want people to be able to pick and choose. We want a menu.
This sounds radical, but we don’t really want to be a political party, in the traditional sense. We want the Jacqui Lambie Network to become a campaigning vehicle, rather than a standard political party. We want it to be controlled by members, not politicians. We want the members to decide what we campaign for, and how we campaign, and the politicians are their servants.
We’ll build the tools, and we’ll deliver on the campaign strategy to get it done. But then we want to hand the tools over. We want everyone to be able to use them. We want the tools it takes to win big fights to be in the hands of people who would otherwise sit helplessly while decisions get made in their names. We want winning to be democratised.
The issues we campaign for are tied together by our values. And this is a party built around those values. But we’re not prescriptive. We know there are plenty of important things to be focused on, and the biggest challenge we face isn’t deciding what to campaign for, but deciding what not to campaign for.
We’re not there yet, but in the longer term we want to blow up the scale of what we’re doing. We’re talking open preselections, where everyone gets to decide who runs for the Jacqui Lambie Network, even if you’re not a member. We want to build the tools to make fully crowd-sourced speeches and media releases. We want policy documents to be written by our members, instead of our MPs and staff. We want members to shape who we are.
We want to build a sustainable foundation for donations so that we can afford to compete in seats all around the country, and campaign in a completely different way. We want to campaign in a way that’s positive, optimistic, smart and a little cheeky. We want people to have fun with us. Politics can’t be boring if it’s going to survive.
Politics has enough power to do tremendous good that we shouldn’t tolerate it being used to do tremendous harm. We’re seeing that happen now. Politics is being debased and demeaned. It’s becoming a silly side-game played by ugly middle-aged dorks and 20-year-old journalists. It’s so far removed from the real lives of real people, and that’s how they like it. Because if you’re not paying attention, they get away with bloody murder. They siphon off public money to pay mates or pay off old politiciains to go into a comfortbale retiremenet and give up their saet. They rack up incredible exepnses on the taxpayer’s dime, and justify it all as within the rules. They turn a blind eye to corruption when it’s their side doing it. They complain we can’t afford to help pensioners, cleaners or childcare workers with a bit of extra money but they give tens of billions away to massive companies that make a profit.
Politicians get treated like little princes and princesses when what they’re supposed to be is servants. To you, to me, to us. We’re supposed to be their bosses.
So we either bring them back down to earth, or we replace them with people who haven’t forgotten where they came from.
We’re warts and all
We take politics seriously. We don’t take ourselves seriously. Politicians are people (or, they’re supposed to be). It can’t be a sin to be normal in politics. If we’re afraid of being ourselves, saying what we think, being true to what we believe, we’re just like them. And if we’re just like them, there’s no point.
We try to be as transparent as possible. We’ve got the strongest donations policy in the country, because we think donations need cleaning up. We let our donors decide what their donation goes towards, because that’s how parties should work. We also let people know how much is being donated, and how many people donate.
We’re up front about how we approach problems, too. Jacqui writes to supporters, asking for their views, and then actually reads the responses.
We value people, first and foremost. We try to never turn someone away who’s come to us for help. Jacqui’s got a staff member looking after veterans’ claims from all around the country, even though they can’t vote for us and most of the peopel we’re helping wouldn’t have a dollar to their name. We don’t do it to make money. We do it because it’s the right thing to do. It’s how we want politics to be for everyone.
We don’t tolerate nasty people. We’ve got no time for that kind of thing. If you’re abusive, you’re out.
We want politics to be nicer. We get that politics can get heated, because we’re dealing with important things that people care passionately about. But we want to find a way to disagree better.
If we don’t, politics becomes a sideshow and people stop listening to each other. The problems we’re built around trying to address, like gaps in the social safety net, are problems created by a political system that’s made it too easy to ignore people. If you’re ignoring other people, we think, you can’t complain when they ignore you back. And if we’re not listening to each other, we’re not respecting each other. We want that to change. Not because it’d be nice. Because it’s how we make bigger change possible.
When we say we’re a network, we mean it
It’s not just a name to us. We’re a network because we’re stronger when we’re connected to each other. We want to pull each other up, help each other out. We want to learn from each other. We want to be as much about giving as we are about receiving. We aren’t here to be a one way street. We’re building a conversation, not a monologue. We want to ask you questions, and we ask things of you too.
We let our members disagree with each other. That’s okay. We don’t want to rule people’s thoughts. We trust that, if you’re in our camp, it’s because you care about what we care about. And that’s what matters. You can disagree with someone else about how to achieve something while agreeing with them that it’s worth achieving. We allow for that.
We want people to be able to contribute.
Because networks don’t work if not everyone is putting in.
Economists talk about something called “network effects”. It’s worth considering.
For most products, the more people use it, the less valuable it becomes. You buy a car that’s had 20 owners, you’re buying a pretty beat up car. If you’ve ever gone driving on a busy road, you know how much worse the experience is when there’s five people in your lane, compared with when you’ve got it to yourself. Lanes are less valuable to you when there’s heaps of people in them.
Networks are different. With networks, they actually become more valuable, the more people who use them. Think Facebook versus Myspace.
If you were the only person with a phone, what’s the point of a phone? What are you going to do with it?
Wikipedia’s a good example. If one poor bloke was the only one writing all the articles, it’d be a useless tool. But the more people contribute, the better it gets. The more, the merrier. That’s a network.
We’re exactly the same. If the Jacqui Lambie Network becomes the Jacqui Lambie Party, we have failed. Because we won’t be able to change anything if we’re leaving it all to one person to do.
Change happens one person at a time. But if it’s left to one person, it doesn’t happen. It takes thousands of people, all making that individual decision to get involved, coming together to form a network that’s stronger than any one part. That’s our goal. That’s our mission. To be strong. To make a difference. To give power to the people who have none, and take it from the ones who’ve got too much of it. We want to change the way you think about politics, and we want you to help us.
Last updated 13 September 2021.