Outspoken South Australian senator Cory Bernardi, one of the “hard right conservatives” some election analysts claim compromised prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, preventing him from putting forward his own agenda in the campaign, has just announced plans for his own political movement.
“As of writing, over 1.7 million votes were cast for right-of-centre or conservative parties rather than the Liberal Party. From my perspective, that was the Liberal base expressing their unhappiness with past events,” he said on his blog.
Business Insider spoke to an influential Western Australian conservative who said Bernardi is more likely to be looking at forming a bloc of conservative-minded senators, which may include Pauline Hanson and Tasmanian independent Jacqui Lambie, who share concerns around issues such as halal certification and Muslim immigration.
“He may even attract one or two from Labor,” he said.
Unlike the Labor Party, Liberal backbenchers are generally allowed a free vote on legislation, although convention binds them to the party. But the concept could leave whoever forms government needing to negotiate with around a dozen cross-party senators on controversial social issues such as marriage equality.
Bernardi, who called last year’s leadership spill “treachery”, says the election was a disaster.
“We are right back where we were in 2010,” he said.
“Neither side of politics is doing a good enough job to secure their trust.”
So Bernardi is proposing the launch of a cross-party movement called “Australian Conservatives”.
“If you believe in limited government, traditional values, defending our culture and heritage, lower taxes, a stronger nation, a stronger economy and plain old common sense, then you have a lot in common with millions of others,” he said
“It’s the next step in making sure our voice is never taken for granted again.”
Bernardi has launched a website seeking registrations from people who’ll back his push.
In 2012, senator Bernardi resigned as then-opposition leader Tony Abbott’s parliamentary secretary after linking gay marriage to bestiality.
He published the book The Conservative Revolution in 2014 and September, is due to head to New York for three months as part of an annual cross-party program for Australian MPs to be observers at the UN General Assembly.
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