Former rugby league star Glenn Lazarus opens up about the challenges he faces as a new senator and leader of the Palmer United Party in the upper house.

Glenn Lazarus is under more pressure lining up for Queensland in the Senate than he ever was for NSW in the State of Origin.

The Palmer United Party (PUP) leader in the Senate has opened up about the difficulties he and his “very new” colleagues face as they come to terms with their balance-of-power votes.

Senator Lazarus was very confident in his ability as a footballer, but not quite yet as a politician.

“So I’d have to say playing State of Origin and playing rugby league certainly came a lot easier for me,” he told Fairfax radio in Brisbane on Monday.

“Pressure wise, I think politics would take that hands down.”

Senator Lazarus, known in NRL circles as the Brick with Eyes, was criticised last week for lifting Wikipedia content onto his website.

The subsequent negative media attention and the effect it had on his family and friends has been the hardest thing to get used to.

“I’ve had some pretty violent and huge footballers try to rip my head off,” he said.

“I think I’m big enough and ugly enough to handle the criticism, but it doesn’t sit well when my mother or my mother-in-law rings.”

Senator Lazarus argues his fledgling party doesn’t have the same resources as the major players to scour the large volume of legislation coming before the Senate.

But he’s doing the best he can.

“I just don’t want to fail,” he said, adding that ambition was the same for State of Origin players.

“They just don’t want to fail on the big stage.”

Senator Lazarus was reluctant to criticise his party leader Clive Palmer and Senate colleague Jacqui Lambie over their provocative statements about China last week.

The beauty of PUP was that everyone was entitled to their opinion, even if other members didn’t agree with each other at times, he said.

“We’re very new. We make mistakes like everybody does.”