The Coalition just recruited another independent senator to the government

Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesThe Australian Senate

Tasmanian independent senator Steve Martin – Jacqui Lambie’s replacement after she was forced to leave because she was a dual citizen – will join the Coalition ranks as a Nationals member.

Martin, the former Devonport Mayor who fell out with Jacqui Lambie Network leader he refused to give up his place in the Senate for ousted senator and was thrown out of the party as a result, is the second independent set to join the government benches this year alongside former Family First Party senator Lucy Gichuhi from South Australia, who became a Liberal in February.

The move will improve Martin’s chances of returning to Parliament in next year’s half Senate election, and will give the government 31 senators to Labor’s 26, meaning it now needs eight members of the crossbench to pass legislation in the upper house.

He’s the first Nationals senator in Tasmania in 90 years and Nationals leader Michael McCormack welcomed him to the fold by comparing him to the Tasmanian Tiger, which became extinct in 1938.

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