Published: Wed, February 08, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

Peter Dutton calls Cory Bernardi's defection a 'betrayal'

Peter Dutton calls Cory Bernardi's defection a 'betrayal'

As his defection stole headlines and added weight to negative perceptions about the declining state of politics locally and globally, Ms Simson said, "Add him to our list".

The formation of a new party in the Senate adds another element to the negotiating landscape at a time when the federal government still has a number of business and innovation policies from the 2016 budget yet to pass through parliament.

President Fiona Simson says Cory Bernardi's name can now be added to the list of Senate crossbenchers her group must consult and educate, to help manage farm legislation risks in Canberra.

He said that the party needed more people like Bernardi who are prepared to speak out and make a difference.

Bernardi, who is indeed an outspoken supporter of Trump, has always been one of the Liberal Party's more conservative figures.

The 47-year-old senator has been a controversial figure in the Liberal Party and is known for his inflammatory remarks on gay rights, Islam and climate change.

"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".

The ABC reports that Mr Turnbull told the partyroom he asked Senator Bernardi why he was leaving so soon after the election, describing his response as "not satisfactory".

She admitted she now knew very little of Senator Bernardi's positions on agriculture policy or in general, "other than that he's a staunch conservative, supports small government, lower taxes and has more conservative views generally".

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'Breaking faith with the electorate, breaking faith with the people who voted for you, breaking faith with the people who have supported you through thick and thin for years and, indeed, decades is not a conservative thing to do'.

'I joined the Liberal party 31 years ago; I became a member of the Liberal parliamentary team about ten years ago'.

"It's not your ticket to really hand over, it's sort of ours".

In a statement, former prime minister Tony Abbott said he was disappointed at Senator Bernardi's decision and said more should have been done to keep him in the Liberal Party.

"Cory Bernardi has made an important contribution to our public life and I deeply regret his decision to leave the Liberal Party".

"If he had the courage of his convictions, he should resign from the Senate and allow the Liberal Party to put in a replacement", Tom said on Tuesday.

"I wish that he had attended the Liberal partyroom meeting this morning, looked us all in the eye and explained his reasons", he said.

The party is cranky over Bernardi's move because he had been setting up the Australian Conservatives, through a website, blog and membership before the last election.

His former government colleagues heavily criticized the move, saying Bernardi was obliged to serve the party on whose platform he had been re-elected.

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