A 2019 Australian Federal Election Policy Guide









(Cori Bernadi)




Note: ACP denotes the Australian Conservatives party for this blog.


The ACP was originally established on July 6th 2016 by Cori Bernadi as a conservative activist group following the 2016 federal election. The Australian Conservatives  base is in Kent Town, South Australia with a stated membership of 14,000+, the www.conservatives.org.au website and the ‘A better Way’ slogan.


Source: Paul Karp "Cory Bernardi establishes right-wing movement Australian Conservatives". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. July 6, 2016.


Before defecting from the Liberal Party on 7 February 2017, Cori Bernadi persisted with the mantra that this conservative activist group was not an attempt to create a break-away group from the Liberal Party. The group was merely established to "help change politics and to give common sense a united voice".


Source: Jacqueline Maley. "Cory Bernardi 'in talks' to break away from Malcolm Turnbull's Liberal Party". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 6 July, 2016.


On the back of a conservative activist group claiming a membership of 14,000 and a newsletter subscription of 50,000, Bernardi began going against Coalition policy and publicly criticising the government--typified by his Senate speeches on the Racial Discrimination Act debate.


This public critique of the Coalition government prompted the beginnings of outraged responses from Liberal colleagues including former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in December 2016.


Source: Uma Patel. "Abbott and Bernardi trade barbs over conservative unrest". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 30 December, 2016.


Bernardi announced his resignation from the Liberals through a speech in the Senate in February 2017. He also announced that the Australian Conservatives activist group was going to form a political party under his leadership, the Australian Conservatives party. 


In his speech, Bernardi cited "the level of public disenchantment with the major parties, the lack of confidence in our political process and the concern about the direction of our nation” as his rationale for “the need to find a better way".


Source: James Massola "Cory Bernardi breaks silence, quits the Liberal Party in Senate speech". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 7 February, 2017.


At least before the dismissal of Malcolm Turnbull, the failure of ultraconservative Peter Dutton to wrestle back control of the Party from the moderates faction and the promotion of Scott Morrison as Prime Minister, Coalition parliamentarians rejected rumours of intent to join the ACP.


Tony Pasin observed that Bernardi's move was unsurprising, "given the way that conservatives from South Australia are treated by the leadership of the Liberals". Pasin is a Liberal MP, the member for Barker in South Australia.


Source: David Crowe. "Show You're Listening: Backbench Tells Turnbull". The Australian. News Corp Australia. 7 Feb 2017.


Peter Dutton from the LNP and Barnaby Joyce from the National Party responded to the Cori Bernadi speech, describing it as a “betrayal” of an effective Coalition government.


Source: Tom McIlroy. "Peter Dutton, Barnaby Joyce slam Cory Bernardi 'betrayal'". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 7 February 2017.


Source: https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/3d09f481cfe3a81a1af9d897af138e122db0cc8f/655_205_2476_1486/master/2476.jpg?width=620&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=2bfe1fe25c96e7e1038186643f0edc7d



Alliances and Defections to the ACP 2017


Australian Conservatives [AGP] was registered as a political party with the Australian Electoral Commission on 12 April 2017.


Source: "Australian Conservatives, party registration approval" (PDF). Australian Electoral Commission. 13 April 2017.


The first task Cori Bernadi set for himself as leader of a fledgling micro party was to secure an amalgamation with other far right conservative micro parties - along with those parties sitting State and Federal Government members. Where negotiations failed to achieve amalgamation, the defection of those sitting members of government to the ACP would be welcomed.




The first stop on Cori Bernadi’s goal so forming a micro party amalgamation was with the Australian Liberty Alliance Party [ALA].


The ALA is the political offshoot the Q Society, which describes itself on a website as 


"Australia's leading Islam-critical movement. Q Society supports an integrated multi-ethnic Australia and rejects racism, which the Oxford dictionary defines as: 'Belief in the superiority of a particular race.' Since Islam is not a race or ethnicity, being critical of Islam is not racist,".


ACP shares with the Q society, the ALA and Pauline Hanson an unapologetic stance against the perceived threat of Islam in Australia.


Q society and ALA members often find themselves confronted with allegations of racism and ‘right wing’ fanaticism. However, Bernadi would concur with now NSW ACP candidate Kirralie Smith that she is not right wing. On the contrary, she describes herself as a


“part of the silent majority of mainstream conservatives whose voices are now being heard”.


Winning an amalgamation with this powerful conservative party - and with it the active support of the Q society, its media profile access including Sky News and the Murdoch Press, financial resources and social media following - would have been a major coup for Mr Bernadi and his fledgling ACP.


Unfortunately for Mr Bernadi, after four weeks of negotiation, the ALA decided not to form an amalgamation with the ACP. ALA president Debbie Robinson said the decision came down to a ‘no thanks’ because they disagreed on fundamental issues including organisational structure, policy development and candidate selection input.


On the bright side, Bernadi secured the defection of prominent anti-Islam Q society member and former ALA candidate Kirralie Smith to the ACP. Smith will stand as a senate candidate in NSW for the ACP in 2019.


Sources: "Wilders-backed ALA won't join Bernardi". SBS. 11 April 2017.https://www.sbs.com.au/news/wilders-backed-ala-won-t-join-bernardi


Nick O'Malley. Anti-halal leader Kirralie Smith joins Cory Bernardi's Australian Conservatives. Sydney Morning Herald. 7 April 2017.



Sydney Morning Herald. Islam Critic Kirralie Smith seen as potential libertarian leader. January 28 2017. https://www.smh.com.au/national/islamcritical-kirralie-smith-seen-as-potential-libertarian-leader-20170128-gu0lng.html 28 January 2017






Cori Bernadi next tried to secure a micro party amalgamation with the Victorian based Democratic Labour Party [DLP].


The DLP declined the invitation to amalgamate with the ACP.  It was also announced that sitting Victorian MLC Rachel Carling-Jenkins was leaving the DLP to join the ACP.


Bernadi failed again to secure an amalgamation, but he came away with a second defection to the ACP.


Source: The Age. "Cory Bernardi targets Victorian election after recruiting upper house MP Rachel Carling-Jenkins". 26 June 2017.





In May 2017, Bernardi met the national and Victorian state leadership of the Australian Christians party to discuss a merger between the two parties.


The Australian Christian party decided not to merge with the ACP as a party, however they formed a joint leadership group.


In February 2018, Lyle Shelton resigned from his role with the Australian Christian Lobby to join Cory Bernardi’s ACP as national communications director and number one ACP Senate ticket holder in Victoria for the 2019 election.


Sources: Cory Bernardi approaches Australian Christians for Family First-style merger". Crikey. 15 May 2017.


Ben Doherty. "Lyle Shelton quits Australian Christian Lobby to enter politics". The Guardian. 3 Feb, 2018. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/feb/03/lyle-shelton-quits-australian-christian-lobby-to-enter-politics





Early in 2017, the ACP had begun the formation of a Senate voting bloc with the Liberal Democratic Party Senator David Leyonhjelm. Any party with the word LABOR in in was never to going to work in election marketing, so any talk of amalgamations or mergers was never touted here. 


The first issue of importance for this informal alliance was documented in a policy release in April urging party members to petition major chocolate companies to oppose Easter Eggs being renamed Holiday Eggs.  


[Senator Leyonhjelm quit federal politics  to contest the NSW State election in 2019]


Sources: "Bernardi's alliance intends to bloc Xenophon". The Australian. 27 April 2017. Lane Sainty. "Conservatives Are Fighting For Easter But No One Knows Who Their Opponents Are". Buzzfeed. 7 April 2017.


Paige Cockburn. David Leyonhjelm to quit federal politics and contest NSW election.ABC News Online. Jan 7 2019.  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-07/david-leyonhjelm-quits-federal-politics-to-run-in-nsw-election/10696090






By August 2017, Cori Bernadi’s attempts to form mergers with conservative micro parties was not looking good. He was running out of micro party amalgamation options after being rejected by the Australian Liberty Alliance [ALA] in NSW, the Democratic Labour Party [DLP] and the executive of the Australian Christians party in Victoria.


Bernadi finally had a level of success in his home State of South Australia where he had approached the FFP.


The political views of the South Australian based FFP was a comfortable potential amalgamation fit for the ACP. FFP was a conservative Christian collection box of ex-Liberals including Robert Brokenshire and Bob Day.  The party first adopted a moral family values agenda, later extended to include issues such as industrial relations reform, free speech and small government.


The second attraction to the FFP for Bernadi was that the party had two sitting members in the South Australian State Government Legislative Council, Robert Brokenshire and Dennis Hood.


The immediate transition of these two men from FFP to ACP members of the State Government Legislative Council gave the ACP a stable of three sitting State Government incumbents inside the first year of existence. Victorian MLC Rachel Carling-Jenkins had previously resigned from the DLP and joined the ACP.


A third compelling feature of FFP was that the party had a Senator in the Parliament. Lucy Gichuhi. She had replaced Bob Day who had served as a Senator from June 2014 to November 2016 when he resigned. His election to the Senate was ruled void in April 2017 under section 44 (v) of the Constitution.


In April 2017, senator Gichuhi declined an offer to join the Cori Bernadi lead voting bloc in the Senate, claiming fidelity to the FFP which had put her in office. This fidelity persisted despite the flagging of FFP intentions to amalgamate with the AGP.


After the FFP was dissolved, senator Gichuhi evolved into an ‘independent’ until she ultimately joined the Liberal Party in 2018. The Senator  told her Upper House colleagues she would be naming and shaming bullies in her party, after she was relegated to an unwinnable spot on the South Australian Senate ticket.


Sources "Bernardi's alliance intends to bloc Xenophon". The Australian. 27 April 2017. https://www.sbs.com.au/news/australian-success-story-pm-welcomes-gichuhi-to-liberals


Parliament of Australia. Senators and Members. https://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Parliamentarian?MPID=HYG



A Family first Merger?



The FFP relinquished its registration as a party with the AEC 30 August 2017.


Source: Australian Electoral Commission. Deregistered/renamed political parties - Australian Electoral Commission. 6 June 2018. www.aec.gov.au/Parties_and_Representatives/Party_Registration/Deregistered_parties/index.htm


According to ACP Australian Board executive John Macaulay, the Family First Party did not merge with the ACP. The Family First executive voted to dissolve the party, and in accordance with Australian law, they donated all their assets to the ACP.





On 11 August 2017, former federal Liberal MP Dennis Jensen joined the ACP and urged Liberal Party members in Western Australia to join him.


Jensen was the former federal Liberal Member for Tangney in Western Australia. He held this position from October 2004 to 2 July 2016.Jenson’s conservative political credentials include


- being a former research scientist skeptical about human-induced global warming; In 2007 during a parliamentary sitting Jenson cited a vice chair of Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC], who claimed "there is no proven link between human activity and global warming";


- Joining Peter Dutton in boycotting the Kevin Rudd apology to the Stolen Generation;


- Telling Indigenous women affected by European colonisation 200 years ago to “get over it”


- Opposing same-sex Marriage, and


- Conceding he had “made a mistake” in using a parliamentary letterhead to seek a publishing deal for his novel about a fictional war including a “racy sex scene”.


Sources: Denis Peters. Climate change a campaign of alarmism. News.Com.Au. 28 Feb 2007.


Sydney Morning Herald, Tweet and sour: MP in spat with Aboriginal woman on colonialism, Fairfax Media 18 April 2013.


Australian Marriage Equality Organisation. Where your MP Stands. .http://www.australianmarriageequality.org/whereyourmpstands/electorates/Tangney/


Alisha O'Flaherty. Tangney MP Dennis Jensen admits 'mistake' in using parliamentary letterhead to seek book deal. ABC News online. 31 March 2016. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-31/tangney-mp-dennis-jensen-defends-using-letterhead-book-deal/7287578


Jensen lost pre-selection for the 2016 election to Ben Morten and subsequently resigned the Liberal Party.


Now a federal Liberal MP, Ben Morten found himself caught up in the citizenship saga in January 2019. Morton spent his summer break rushing to confirm he is not a dual citizen, after he found out his grandfather was born in Ireland as constitutional experts speculated on his political future.


Source: Jackson Gothe-Snape. Citizenship issue resurges as Liberal MP discovers Irish heritage and scrambles to avoid disqualification. ABC News online. 10 Jan 2019. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-10/citizenship-doubt-liberal-mp-ben-morton-discovers-irish-heritage/10705292?section=politics


The State of Play – December 2017


By the end of 2017, a mere nine months since he announced his defection from the Liberal Party, CLP leader Cori Bernadi  had not secured any micro party amalgamations or mergers. However,


1 He had inherited access to two national micro party election machines with associated contacts and assets from the Australian Christian group in Melbourne and the FFP in South Australia;


2   He had secured the defection of one sitting State government politician and the inheritance of two sitting State government politicians into the ACP stable;


3   He had secured the move of two prominent conservative activism leaders into the ACP, both preparing to stand for Senate election in 2019 and both bringing with them a substantial supporter base [Anti-Islam candidate Kirralie Smith in NSW claims a social media following “of 50,000”];  


4   Former WA federal Liberal MP Dennis Jensen has joined the ACP and urged Liberal Party members in Western Australia to join him;


5   ACP had formed a Senate voting bloc with the LDP Senator David Leyonhjelm, and


6 The ACP was building a media profile, not bad for a fledgling micro party.



Unfortunately, that media profile turned into a liability in 2018 when things started to go pear shaped for the ACP. Moreover, the failure to negotiate an amalgamation of the powerful and well resourced Australian Liberty Alliance into the Australian Conservatives party and the backing of the Q group would come back to haunt him quickly.





Source: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rachelmp/pages/73/attachments/original/1539826095/mcwhi-sp-MeadowglenInternationalAthleticsStadium-Epping_026.jpg?1539826095




The ACP entered it's first election period in 2018 with a small campaign war chest, 33+ South Australian State election candidates mustered together, 2 current sitting members in the legislative council, and a third in Victoria awaiting the second State later in the year and a buoyant level of momentum.


State Election South Australia


At the South Australian State election which expelled a long-term Labor Government, the ACP received a first preference vote of just 3.0 percent in the House of Assembly. FF had achieved 6.2 percent in 2014.


In the Lower House, the ACP received a vote of 3.5 percent. FF had achieved 4.4 percent in 2014. ACP stood candidate in 33 Lower house seats and none of them came close to being elected.


With the overall vote going backwards in both houses, hope rested in the two ACP ex FF incumbents.


Robert Brokenshire lost his Legislative Council seat in 2018. This left him wondering why he and his ex FF colleagues, friends and supporters had dissolved the FF party and got on board the ACP train to worse electoral obscurity and political power irrelevance. He would soon act on those thoughts.


Dennis Hood, who retained his Legislative Council seat at the election, resigned from the ACP and defected to the winning Liberal Party nine days after the election. It was later revealed that Mr Hood had actively and openly encouraged Hood to consider the move by his colleague Robert Brokenshire.


State Election Victoria 2018



Similar political reality sentiment drifted across the border into the mind of AGP Victorian election candidate Rachel Carling-Jenkins.


Having defected from the still existent Democratic Labor Party [DLP] to join CLP, Carling-Jenkins was allegedly struggling to get any ACP momentum support for her campaign.


Weeks before the Victorian State Election was held, Carling-Jenkins announced she was leaving the ACP and standing as an Independent instead.


Reasons given for this decision included complaints that the ACP leader Cori Bernadi had refused to provide a campaigning budget, undermining her campaign, gossiping about her to media journalists, and excluded her from party decision-making processes. She added


“Former members of parties such as Australian Christians and Family First are particularly upset with the lack of structure, they have been let down, and as I agree with their concerns — including the feeling of being betrayed by the promises made when Australian Conservatives first formed… it is no longer tenable for me to sit under this banner.”


Source: Benjamin Preiss and Farrah Tomazin. "It's over: Cory Bernardi's only Victorian MP sensationally quits". The Age. August 4, 2018.



White Ants 


Cori Bernadi reacted savagely to news that Dennis Hood was resigning from his party and joining the Liberal Party government. And worse, that he had be encouraged to consider this move by none other than the losing ACP candidate Robert Brokenshire.


Mr Bernadi lashed out at both men, accusing them of white-anting his start-up party from within. Mr Bernadi later told Sky News that the defection has left him feeling dejected and that he suspects the defection had been under active consideration prior to the election.


"My wife said to me during the state election campaign, 'who are these people working for, the Australian Conservatives or the Liberal Party?'" he said.


2019 could not come soon enough for the leader of the ACP.


Sources : Nick Harsem. Cory Bernardi lashes out at former colleagues over 'plans to defect to Liberals' ABC News Online. 28 March 2018. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-28/bernardi-feels-whiteanted-by-former-conservative-colleagues/9598048



To get strong hints of what the ACP policy suite will be you only need to look at


A.  The policy platforms of micro party groups Mr. Bernadi sought to amalgamate into the ACP in 2018 and the Q group that he also courted in 2018 which is documented above. 


B.  Senator Bernadi's Hansard recorded speech documented in full below in which he explains why he defected from the Liberal Party and formed the ACP- See below; and


C.  Other Hansard recorded speeches and motions Mr. Bernadi proferred in the Senate after his defection and prior to it.  Examples are listed at the very bottom of this section on the ACP, and 


D     Quadrant Magazine. The first edition of 2019 has a cover [see below] which advertises the psyche of the Q group Mr Bernadi courted in 2018.  The feature article  is 'The inhererent Racism of Identity Politics' followed by 'How the Left turned Free Speech into Hate Speech'.  


Source: Quadrant Online. Jan-Feb 2019 edition. https://quadrant.org.au/


In the next section I have attempted an executive summary - my take on what to expect from the ACP and Cori Bernadi as a general default position from which all else will spring- the ultraconservative world view of all things human and political.   



Source: https://quadrant.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/jan-2019-cover.png



Freedom of Speech Catch Phrases


When the following catch phrases featuring regularly in the Hansard discourse of Cori Bernadi, Murdoch Press journalists or Sky News luminaries like Andrew Bolt, they come under the category of ‘freedom of speech’. That is, illuminating “ordinary Australians” thoughts and concerns and “holding up people for examination” against a tide of ‘politically correct’ backlash and derision from “the loony left” stuck in a damaging identity politics bubble-


These catch phrases are -


Climate change, parliamentary behaviour, radical Islam, promoting multiculturalism,

Muslims, cult of victimhood, freedom of personhood, gender politics, unemployed, union members, unalienable rights, the United Nations, government interference, allegations of bullying, allegations of sexual harassment, lowering taxes, Race Discrimination Commissioner, National  Security, Australian traditional values, aspirational goals, sovereign borders, clean coal,  renewables, baseload electricity, Paris climate accord, Tony Abbott, political opportunism, immigration intake, law and order, founding values, facial veil, North African, welfare debt, Middle Eastern, Afghani, Iraqi, Sudanese, Iranian, and Aboriginal Australians, asylum seekers, refugees. [There are others, but that is more than enough].


Identity Politics Catch Phrases


According to the world view of Cori Bernadi and others of his ilk, when the exact same ‘freedom of speech’ catch phrases are used by anyone else they come under a different category which dominates the body politic, rampant ‘identity politics’. That is, ignoring “ordinary Australians” thoughts and concerns and refusing to “hold people up for examination” in political debate.


Consequently, the “voice of ordinary Australians” is silenced, most recently on the BLUE side of the Canberra bubble and led by “the best Prime Minister that Labor ever had, Malcolm Turnbull”.


It was this ‘archconservative’ world view that drove South Australian Senator Cori Bernadi to abandon the Liberal Party and form a new micro party, the Australian Conservatives.


This approach to politics and the political representation of “ordinary Australians” was evident in a Senate speech delivered by Mr Bernadi in August 2018. Amongst other things, he explains why he resigned from the Liberal Party and moved to the cross bench ahead of forming his own party. The full speech is available on this page. 

Australian Conservatives party [ACP] election prospects for 2019 


The Senate


The ACP will attempt to follow minor and micro party templates of the Australian Greens, Palmer United Party and Pauline Hanson One Nation.


That is, ACP will initially focus most of it"s resources on Senate seat representation and candidacy and nationally relevant political issues [rather than local issues] like climate change debate and temporary budget repair levies being bought out of retirement. A party bloc is far more controllable, predictable and powerful than any informal alliance in the Senate.


Early in January 2019, the APC website boasted 13 candidates standing for Senate election in 2019 and not one MP candidate on “Our Team”.


Source: Australian Conservatives-Our Team



This absence of MP candidates will change before the election but my looking glass four months before the election suggests the prognosis for the prospects of the AGP winning any MP seats is not hopeful and bereft of treatment options.  There may be a cure down the track but right now this fledgling party has a mountain of work to do. 


Reasons for this prognosis include


(1)     Party leader Cori Bernadi possesses few of the ingredients needed to ‘draw a crowd’ and an effective media profile for a minor or micro party insurgency - even in his own State of South Australia - such as Pauline Hanson for One Nation Party in Queensland or Bob Brown for the Australian Greens;.


(2)     People attracted to the “Australian Conservatives” name on the ballot paper need to be either a Bernardi fan, a diehard Family First supporter aware of the connection, “a Conservative with a big C so — paid up, combative and engaged in the political contest” or people with very strong minded on ‘populist’ single issue joker cards [anti Islam sentiment, climate change sceptics, same sex opponents etc] and simple slogans like “Make Australia Great Again” [Clive Palmer] or “Exterminate the Cane Toad” [Pauline Hanson]. Labor's "Its Time", worked. "Jobs and Growth", not so much. 


(3)     In the critical State of Queensland, the people who voted Family First in Capricornia (0.6), Forde (0.7), Petrie (1.7), Dickson (2.0), Dawson (3.4), Bonner (3.4), Brisbane (6.1) and Ryan (8.8) in 2016 are more likely to vote for ‘local’ micro party leader like Pauline Hanson, Bob Katter and Clive Palmer rather than the foreigner Cori Bernadi of the ‘Australian Who ? ‘;


(4)     The non-merger may slightly influence the results in the Queensland seats of Petrie (1.7), Dickson (2.0), Brisbane (6.1) and Ryan (8.8) where the now defunct FF party did well in 2016. However, this notion has to assume ACP place candidates in these seats in 2019 and local QLD voters got the memo on the FF-ACP connection.


(5)      The ACP election machine simply does not have the resources needed to campaign effectively at this early stage of development, particularly outside of South Australia. The ACP hardly raised a whisper in the Western Australia and Victorian State elections or the by elections contested in WA, NSW, Tasmania and Queensland, and


(6) In the Family First/ACP home state election in South Australia in 2018, the ACP vote went backwards in comparison with Family First’s 2014 performance


– more than halving in the House of Assembly (6.2 % to 3.0%) and down from 4.4 to 3.5 per cent in the Legislative Council


The ACP, at a very early state political brand development, election machinery, limited election war-chests and bodies ‘on the ground’ -outside of South Australia in particular- will be little more than a small mosquito on 2019 election House of Representative ballot papers, annoying everyone and achieving little in terms of winning seats MP seats. 


Like the Greens and other micro parties, ACP will have a generally limited impact in the HOR. However, ACP can and will have a noteworthy impact on the outcome of the increasing number of close, marginal seats.  We only have to recall the 2016 election in the seat of Herbert to find a recent example.


Despite receiving only 315 votes for 0.3 percent of first preferences in the 2016 election, Palmer United Party second preferences flowed 198 votes to Cathy O’Toole [ALP] and 117 votes to Ewen Jones [Liberal]. The second preference flows of Clive Palmers' nephew under the now defunct PUP banner contributed towards Labor winning the seat from the Liberal two term incumbent by a mere 37 votes. 


We can be assured that ACP would much rather have Ewen Jones sitting in the House of Representatives when legislation comes back for a final vote from the Senate. Again, 'bums on seats' is not the only measure of success or influence to consider.


In the Senate, ACP wlll have a voting block of one after this election, trading jibes with the REDS, the BLUES, 'populist' insurgents and the worst harbingers of identity politics, the "bloody  Australian Greens".



MOTIONS - Coalition Government




(South Australia) (15:19): If the Australian people weren't alarmed enough, Senator Hinch has sent a shiver—a horror—through all of their spines by mentioning 'Prime Minister Pyne'. It conjures dread through the country to think not only has our political system become a bit of a laughing stock but that such thoughts could be taken seriously—or even with remote seriousness—in this place.


I perfectly understand why Senator Wong has moved this motion of no confidence. If you look at the government's track record it has been dreadful to say the least.


Not only have they refused to deal with some of the issues that need to be dealt with;


they've messed around with people's superannuation,


they've run a chaotic and dysfunctional government,


and they've thrown everything up in the air and said, 'It's on the table', which basically means they've got no firm principles and no framework in which to discount even the most idiotic proposals.


We've had a government that has been committed to emissions trading schemes. They've snuck them through.


They've discussed a tax on car emissions and a tax on lawnmowers and two-stroke engines.


We've got a year's worth of national electricity guarantee work that was abandoned under the face of a bit of a pressure.


We've got money being sent off to bodies without enough scrutiny: $444 million to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.


We've got hundreds of millions of dollars shipped off to the Clinton Foundation and the United Nations.


There is the signing up to the Paris agreement.


You can go through the litany of failures of this government. It's why I'm no longer part of the Liberal Party.


That judgement was one that I made, because I couldn't go along with it. What politics has become is shameful. It's a crisis.


You can look around the place and you can ask the Australian people, and they speak with their votes: about 30 or 40 per cent of people now are voting outside the major parties. That is where the vote of no confidence is coming from.


I regret that that has allowed some base opportunism to spring up—people in positions of influence wielding their power for their personal gratification and to aggrandise and big-note themselves rather than do something that is in the best interests of the country.


On that side, they say they want to spend $40 billion on education; on this side, it was $18 billion on education—all unfunded and all uncosted, and there are no educational outcomes available for it.


What did the crossbench do? They said, '$18 billion isn't enough; let's put another $5 billion of borrowed money into it.' However you want to look at the decision-making that has been taking place in the last decade of parliament, it is no wonder the Australian people are losing faith and confidence in the body politic.


We are all guilty of it, to a degree. We will all complain about the other team. But the people we are letting down are the Australian people. There are the mums and dads who are finding it difficult to pay their utility bills.


Every problem in the electricity market is caused by government interference, government determinations and government regulations—every single one. Every time an Australian person can't afford to pay their electricity bills, we should be hanging our heads in shame. It is because of blind ideology, and this was as forecastable as anything.


So was the crisis that is engulfing the Liberal Party now. The move against Tony Abbott, three or so years ago, was textbook—a textbook repetition of the same failures and the same damage that was done by the Labor Party in getting rid of Kevin Rudd. It doesn't matter whether Kevin Rudd was a dysfunctional human being or whether Tony Abbott was a good Prime Minister.


The people on the Liberal side of the chamber who orchestrated and participated in that coup should be hanging their heads in shame. They thought, 'We can take Labor's policy and somehow make it turn out better.'


Well, what they did was that they took Labor's policy, essentially took Labor's rejected candidate—because, let's remember, Mr Turnbull lined up there with Graham Richardson and others, seeking Labor preselection, and they said, 'No; we've got enough narcissists in our party already'—so he made his migration across to the coalition, where he has systemically sought to reshape it and change it in his image, which is not the traditional Liberal Party image.


I say to the Australian people: like it or lump it, this mob or that mob, the red team or the blue team, are going to be running a government of some sort after the next election.


The choice for you is who is going to influence and shape the outcomes: who in this place can be trusted to put the Australian people's interests first rather than naked political opportunism first.


You can only look around the crossbench and ask who has acted, in every vote, with principle—not with shameless self-aggrandisement or political opportunism or something to extract a boast about—who is seeking to improve legislation, voting on either side of the chamber according to the merits of it?


I will say that I'm not the only who's endeavoured to do that; there are others in this chamber as well. But we cannot let down the Australian people through these shameless acts of partisanship.


The only ones who are being let down are the Australian people, who once had faith in this institution, who once had confidence that the people up here were actually going to act in their interests.


It's time for that to happen again. The font of all wisdom and knowledge is not vested in this place. We have to think that the Australian people can make some determinations and decisions for themselves.


That is the challenge for us: rather than getting government out of people's lives—because we haven't improved it at all in the past 10 years—we need to have a very light touch on their lives so that they can make these decisions themselves.


Source: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Hansard/Hansard_Display?bid=chamber/hansards/2f1163e6-0e63-4f2a-930e-995b76c4699d/&sid=0191





















https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Hansard/Hansard_Display?bid=chamber/hansards/8d55c149-a657-4f9b-a36f-9b 3925147068/&sid=0145