This article was originally published July 7, 2016.
Liberal Party senator and conservative luminary Cory Bernardi is embarking on a new political movement, ‘Australian Conservatives’, in a bid to unite conservatives in Australia, regardless of political affiliation. Specifically, Senator Bernardi is seeking support to establish a new conservative network which will rival the prominent leftist lobby group, GetUp!
After the ousting of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott by Malcolm Turnbull last September, the XYZ predicted the likelihood of a new conservative party, headed up by Senator Bernardi.
Australia’s 2 July federal election registered a strong protest from voters, coinciding with the launch of a suite of new conservative and libertarian political parties. This election also produced the highest vote for independents and minor parties the nation has ever seen, with nearly one quarter of all voters giving their first preference to parties other than Labor and the Coalition.
Both of these developments speak to widespread dissatisfaction of Malcolm Turnbull’s Labor-lite prime ministership, from conservatives who have traditionally voted for the Coalition.
While there is at present a strong protest against established parties, political elitism, and political correctness, both at home and internationally, Australia’s Federal election also displayed an unhelpful splintering of votes from those unhappy with the status quo. While Pauline Hanson has been returned to the Parliament, and looks likely to bring another member or two with her, the well-organised and articulate Australian Liberty Alliance disappointingly failed to elect a single member. It is division and a lack of unity, rather than a lack of votes, that is plaguing the right side of politics.
Only a few days ago, XYZ’s Lucas Rosas wrote:
“We might not all be able to get along, but if we can’t find a way to unite at least some of these hard-working activists, sparse resources and courageous public figures under fewer than the current dozen banners, the future looks grim.”
While my preference would have been to see members of the ALA elected to the Parliament, Lucas is absolutely right: the resurgence of political movements on the centre-right will continue to flounder and fail to have the desired impact on the political scene if individuals and groups stay divided, squabbling amongst ourselves themselves.
A cross-party organisation such as the one flagged by Senator Bernardi could be exactly what the doctor ordered, bringing together conservatives and libertarians in a political movement which is long overdue.
Photo by Christian Haugen