Peter Rogers, the One Nation candidate for Mulgrave has been sacked following posts that appeared on his website claiming that the Port Arthur massacre and the image of the young Syrian boy drowned on the beach during the Syrian refugee crisis were both staged.
Rogers claimed the site was administered by a friend, The Unshackled previously confirmed this in an exclusive interview with the actual author of the articles.Despite Rogers admitting his lapse in judgement, it was not enough to save him from the axe which has now claimed three candidates.
Rogers was taken by surprise by the decision telling the ABC that he never seriously thought they would sack him. Rogers has issued a direct warning to Pauline and co, telling them if they keep “jumping the gun” they will lose votes.
Despite the controversies, One Nation continue to rise in the polls and have been further boosted by the arrival of another LNP politician. Sam Cox the former LNP member for Thuringowa has confirmed he will contest the seat of Burdekin in North Queensland in the upcoming Queensland state election.
Mr Cox has blamed the LNP for the defection claiming that voters are frustrated and disenfranchised with the LNP leaders who have lost touch with the people. This follows just weeks after current member for Buderim, Steve Dickson defected to One Nation from the LNP, giving One Nation their first Queensland MP in quite a while. Mr Dickson accused the LNP of lacking backbone.
Signs are continuing to show right throughout Australia of a major fracture appearing in the LNP party with NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner resigning after being told she would not remain in her ministry position as Gladys Berejiklian from the party’s left took control as NSW Premier following Mike Baird’s shock resignation.
In Victoria current LNP federal MP for Menzies and Conservative from the right-wing faction, Kevin Andrews, began a recruitment campaign to attract Conservatives from the troubled minor parties Family First and the Australian Christians. But with the left-wing faction holding the balance of power, all of the new members were rejected by the LNP head office.
The divide is so strong at the moment that there is continued talk of a new Conservative party taking shape with ongoing speculation that South Australian senator Cory Bernardi may split ranks from the LNP to form his own party.
Currently frustrated LNP members are turning to One Nation despite the party identifying more with a Nationalist protectionist philosophy rather then a traditional Conservative philosophy. But with limited choice Conservatives have clung on to the next best thing.
One party who is hoping to catch disgruntled LNP members are the new comers on the block, the United Conservative Party led by former Christian Democratic Party federal director Greg Bondar. UCP is hopeful that its long-awaited policy platform release next month, which is being driven by the former Nationals central committee member Ron Pike, will catapult them into the spotlight along with a planned merger expected to be announced shortly.
It’s too early to tell if the latest trouble with One Nation will stem the tide of defections from the LNP. Then of course there is always the threat of a new Conservative party rising up and making its mark on the Australian political landscape.