I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!

EXCLUSIVE: Jackie Lambie's I'm A Celebrity stint was all political - "I needed to take some drastic action"

Gone with the billboards and advertisements - it all came out in the jungle for the controversial Tasmanian politician.

By Jess Pullar
There's no denying it - Jacqui Lambie has had a particularly eventful few weeks.
The former Tasmanian politician was thrown into the depths of the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! jungle, forced to undergo gruesome challenges (one of which resulted in an impressively shiny egg on her head), and fed barely enough food to sustain her.
It was all for a very good cause of course, with Lambie's chosen charity being Team Rubicon, an organisation that works with and raises awareness for military veterans.
And while she was eliminated from the celebrity jungle on Sunday evening's episode, it was patently clear that we haven't seen the back of her just yet.
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The jungle was just the beginning for Jacqui Lambie. (Image: Network Ten)
Jacqui, who was Senator for Tasmania from 2014 to 2017, was one of the most controversial contestants on this year's show, and it seems that it was all for a very good reason - to propel her political following.
"We needed to do something - I needed to take some drastic action and I needed it fairly quickly", she tells Now To Love in an exclusive chat just hours after exiting the jungle.
And while Lambie's staunch views have never been a secret, the campers also got an earful as she told anyone and everyone her thoughts on a range of issues.
In one such instance, Lambie told former AFL player Dermott Brereton that former Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull was a "disaster" while Tony Abbot's anti-refugee tactics were the "the best thing he did".
Jacqui didn't shy away from vocalising her opinions on the show. (Image: Network Ten)
But it was her rather violent run-in with a boulder that really stood out during her I'm A Celebrity experience.
Lambie was rushed to hospital when she sustained a harrowing head injury while partaking in a Tucker Trial. Fellow camp mate Justin Lacko was quick to raise alarm when he saw Jacqui's head bleeding after being knocked by one of the boulders.
"You've hurt yourself, can we get a medic in here... she's bleeding on her forehead, can we get a medic? I'm dead serious," Justin said.
But Jacqui soon returned to camp following the set-back, proving her resilience that earned the respect of her camp mates.
We don't use the term lightly, even news presenter Natasha Exelby came up with a potential campaign slogan: "Vote 1 Lambie, Tough as F**k".
And while the slogan itself might be a little too much to make public on the campaign trail, it mightn't be far off as Lambie prepares to ride the reality TV wave back into government.
Keep scrolling as we speak to the 47-year-old about her wild experience...
So Jacqui, why did you think going on the show would be good for you politically?
There's really not a lot of money rolling around [for political campaigning], we don't have the money for advertising and billboards, so this was our best shot at campaigning for it.
We needed to do something - I needed to take some drastic action and I needed it fairly quickly. That's why [I'm A Celebrity] worked out really well.
The show also hits another demographic for us as well, so it's been good to reach those people. Now, I'm back to spending every bit of time I can back in the van, driving around Tasmania talking to the people. I've pretty much been doing that since I lost my seat.
Do you think going on the show has altered public opinion of yourself?
I'm not sure on that because I haven't had an opportunity to get my feet back on the ground, I'll feel more comfortable when can see it with my own eyes. I certainly don't think it's done us any harm.
I also think it's nice to see a politician who can go out there and live like that and eat very little - if I see beans and rice again this year I'll puke.
I also got along with Sam Dastyari very well. Even though we didn't get as far as others I don't think Sam and I have lost anything out of it. Well I would hope we haven't!
Jacqui and Justin forged a strong relationship during the show. (Image: Network Ten)
You struck up a close relationship with Justin on the show, can you tell us what your thoughts are on him despite how he's come across to other contestants?
I'm not sure if he was portrayed in the best way as he could have been in that first week, but I think he's grown up a lot, actually I think he's come a bl**dy long way.
Any young man at 28 that has the courage to take a world record out of the jungle for doing the most trials - I'll tell you what, the man deserves a bl**dy medal and he has a shot at winning it.
You also sustained a pretty harrowing head injury on the show, can you tell us how you've coped with that?
To be honest I was more worried about the fact I was bleeding, I was just thinking 'oh my god I've had that many stitches in my face for other incidents during my lifetime', all I was hoping was that there wouldn't be another scar on my face.
But then I was standing there next to Justin and thought it was probably better it happened to my face than his.
WATCH: Jacqui Lambie reveals son has ice addiction. Story continues after video...
Was there a personal reason that made you choose to go on the show?
I really wanted to raise awareness for the veterans and my charity - if I've been able to achieve anything it was to make sure that was done.
And it wasn't just that, it was also to be able to go out there and talk about Tasmania and tourism. The Mainland is always the bl**dy hero, but this was Tasmania's opportunity to say 'come on you big boys, here we are, we're not going anywhere'.
I mean, Tasmania has best life out of the lot - we've got the best wine, the best whiskey, the best cheese and the freshest beer in the world.
WATCH: I'm A Celeb's Justin Lacko has a meltdown over stolen chapstick:

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