Senator Cory Bernardi has announced his departure from the Liberal party this morning, amid threats from the party that there will be retribution for his ‘betrayal’.
Mr Bernardi announced his resignation prior to the church service to mark the start of a new parliamentary year. His new party is called the ‘Australian Conservatives’.
It is believed that Mr Bernardi has left the Liberals because he prefers small government, lower taxes and free trade, and thinks the Coalition has drifted from these values and is neglecting its voter base.
He’s also seen the writing on the wall, after the Coalition lost over a million votes in the last election to conservative parties such as One Nation.
Liberal Party ministers have expressed their disappointment of Mr Bernardi, with Immigration Minister Peter Dutton saying it’s a betrayal of his voters, Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer claiming the public have no tolerance for ministers “who are engaged in ego trips”, and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann saying he was “disappointed” by Senator Bernardi’s decision.
“I think that people would feel that their trust has been violated if somebody stood for a particular political party and then left that political party, particularly so soon after an election campaign,” said Ms O’Dwyer.
“I feel that most people would understand [that if] you had strong views and didn’t want to represent a political party, maybe you should represent that prior to the election campaign.
“I think anybody who is elected as a Liberal owes a responsibility, not only to the people who preselected them, but also to the people who voted for them, who placed their trust in them to be a member of that particular political party.”
The Opposition has come out saying the Bernardi’s defection is a further sign that the Turnbull Government is “hopelessly weak”, but Mathias Cormann feels that it’s Labor who’ll be on the back foot should Bernardi decide to leave.
Regardless, Mr Bernardi’s ‘Australian Conservatives’ party is a new threat to be reckoned with, and both sides will have to work out a way to negotiate with him.
Read more at abc.net.au
How do you think this looks for the Liberal Party? Would you be inclined to follow Mr Bernardi’s new party?