Conservative senator Cory Bernardi is going to robo-call millions of Australians at home to say vote 'no'

Cory Bernardi. Photo: Mark Graham / AFP / Getty Images.

Breakaway conservative senator Cory Bernardi is planning to robo-call homes in South Australia as well as Victoria in a bid to convince voters to choose “no” in the federal government’s same-sex marriage postal survey.

Nine News has audio of the call, which Bernardi says the vote is “a question about parents’ rights”.

“Changing the marriage act will limit the right of parents to object to radical gay sex education and gender ideology programs from being taught in schools. Books like The Gender Fairy, which is aimed at four-year-olds, will become commonplace in our schools,” he says in the message.

“Removing gender from marriage means removing it from all areas of our society, including our schools.”

The South Australian Liberal Party defector, who left the party shortly after being re-elected to launch the Australian Conservatives party, told Fairfax Media that he has organised and is paying for the campaign, which is rumoured to be costing around $50,000, through his party. Nine News says the robo-calls cost around 5 cents each.

The call also seeks to poll the listener by asking them to respond with which way they’ll vote by pressing 1, 2 or 3 for yes, no or unsure.

Bernardi told Fairfax that phone polling is “a time-honoured political technique” and he wanted to “take the temperature” of the electorate.

After objecting to text messages from the “Yes” campaign on the weekend, Bernardi said his unsolicited call to homes was different because “people feel like their mobiles are more personal space”.

Last week, after Bernardi accused a primary school supporting a charity fundraiser to educate African girls of being involved in “gender morphing“, the school was overwhelmed by cash donations in support, raising $274,000, having originally set a target of $900.

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