Senator Cory Bernardi last week announced he would be deregistering his Australian Conservatives political party following their poor performance at the federal election.
Since its founding in 2017 the party has participated in the Bennenlong and Batman by-elections, and the South Australian and New South Wales state elections. All failing to have any of its candidates elected.
The party had a slick online operation with high quality media produced. It absorbed the Family First political party and the National and Victorian Divisions of the Australian Christians party. But none of this translated to additional votes with it obtaining only 0.7% of the vote nationally in the Senate.
There is much speculation that Bernardi who was elected as a Liberal at the 2016 double dissolution election for a six year term could rejoin the Liberal Party and give them another locked in vote for passing their legislative agenda in the Senate.
In his deregistration post Bernardi expressed his view that because “a man of faith and values was leading the Liberals back to their traditional policy platform” in Scott Morrison, with Malcolm Turnbull removed then the “rationale for the creation of the Australian Conservatives is no longer valid”.
This was a view shared by Queensland Senate candidate and Communications Director of the Australian Conservatives Lyle Shelton who said of their poor result ‘we also took satisfaction in that Morrison had shamelessly adopted so many of our policies’.
However this rationale has not been bought by many Australian Conservatives members who joined up and gave their time and money to a party they believed was going to be a principled, long term conservative alternative to the major parties.
Many conservatives are also disappointed that Scott Morrison has not stood up for freedom of religion, against multiculturalism or reducing immigration, and have vowed to continue to provide Australian voters with a real conservative option.
Remaining Australian Conservatives
New South Wales Australian Conservatives Senate candidates Sophie York and Riccardo Bosi are staying put to begin a revamped conservative party in the state. They promise it will “promote policies to ensure Australia remained a sovereign, self-reliant western democracy that was economically powerful, militarily intimidating, politically free, culturally vibrant and socially cohesive”.
They have also promised to do things differently internally from now on with Bosi stating “We have many very competent members, who until now have been sidelined and unable to voice their concerns due to our current structure. The first thing we need to do is to professionalise the party by setting a firm foundation and develop things such as a democratic, transparent and consultative constitution and to elect a state executive”.
The Australian Conservatives NSW Facebook page shortly after Bernardi announced the party’s pending deregistration announced that a rebrand would be coming soon. Current members have the option of transferring their membership to a new conservative party, the name of which is yet to be confirmed.
Christian Democrats Turmoil
NSW other major Conservative Party the Christian Democrats is also undergoing a radical internal change. 18 year old Samraat Joshua Grewal assisted by 22-year old Joel Jammal removed the party’s State Executive at their State Council meeting three weeks ago after the party failed to have their state MLC Paul Green re-elected.
Grewal and Jammal since then have been locked in a battle with the old state executive aligned with party founder and remaining MLC Fred Nile over the legality of their no-conference motion at State Council and if it followed proper procedure.
Certainly in NSW at least there is a large number of conservatives who don’t believe the Coalition has addressed their concerns and that a principled authentic conservative party is still needed to impact political change.