Controversial South Australian senator Cory Bernardi is heading to the United Nations on a three-month secondment, the ABC reports.
The conservative federal politician, who is outspoken on issues such as gay marriage, Islam, abortion and climate change, will head to New York in September – around the time a federal election is due – as part of an annual program that sees both a Coalition and Labor MP head to the UN General Assembly as observers.
In a statement to Business Insider, Bernardi said: “I am delighted to have been chosen by my colleagues to take part in the United Nations delegation for 2016.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to assist in Australia’s representations to the United Nations and to learn more about the purpose, inner workings and effectiveness of the UN. Experiences such as this broaden the knowledge of any parliamentarian fortunate enough to participate and I’m very much looking forward to the opportunity.”
The senator’s sometimes strident comments have caused him and the government political trouble in recent years, with the author of The Conservative Revolution forced to step down as a parliamentary secretary in 2012, after he argued that legalising same-sex marriage would lead to bestiality and polygamy also becoming legal.
He’s also been critical of United Nations, previously describing it as a “fiscal black hole of bureaucracy” and “unaccountable foreign organisation”.
This month marks 10 years since his predecessor in the senate, Robert Hill, a Liberal moderate and former environment minister, resigned and became ambassador to the United Nations.
And the secondment to the UN hasn’t always gone to plan, with Queensland MP Steve Ciobo, now the trade minister, involved in a dispute over at $8000 hotel bill following his 12 week stay at New York’s Bristol Plaza on the same secondment in 2011. The MP refused to pay and the outstanding bill threatened to become a diplomatic incident. The MP blamed bureaucrats for the incident.
Business Insider has reached out to Senator Bernadi’s office for comment on his trip.