Last week the Australian senator Cory Bernardi formally resigned from the Liberal party in protest at conservatism having lost its way and the party’s leaders doing nothing to halt the slide into irrelevance. His decision was not surprising at all considering that he had been hinting about it for months. He has formed a new party called Australian Conservatives. From an email he sent out to supporters on the day of his resignation announcement we can gleam some idea of its agenda:
Australian Conservatives will stand up for the principles that have made Australia such a great place and which have been abandoned by the political class beholden to half-baked solutions, costly fads and the sound of their own voices.
Bernardi organized a press conference where he spoke for over 30 minutes, which I presume was less about wanting to deliver new and startling pronouncements but more about wanting to maximize his air time before he slides into total irrelevance.
Watching the video I was struck by how badly he managed the assembled media. For someone who claims to have been inspired by Trump, (and Bernardi was even in New York during the US election where he met with key Trump campaign coordinators), he seems to have learned nothing from Trump’s own example. The US president would have made mincemeat of the reporters that badgered Bernardi with inane questions, misdirections, non-sequiturs, and straw-man arguments. But Bernardi merely attempted to parrot his stock lines while meekly attempting to steer the journalists back to his core arguments. It just went in circles the entire time which is situation completely normal here in Australian politics.
It used to be the standard situation in US politics until Donald Trump arrived and blew up the entire media edifice. He got them to dance to his tune. Trump is not a Republican and nor is he a conservative. He is something entirely new and that was what was needed because conservatism has failed, and it cannot be resurrected because it has been failing for fifty years. You can’t fix that amount of failure. You need to start again with something completely new. You need to blow up the system.
So I watched Bernardi’s performance with a heavy heart. But I still gave him some measure of hope to succeed. That hope lasted for a whole five days. At the end of last week conservative opinion pages exploded with the terrible news that a conservative cartoonist had made a nasty and horrible joke against gays and Muslims at a private function. I mean, who needs the Left when we do their own dirty work for them? But then Senator Bernardi dived headfirst into the action, damning Pickering and former conservative politician Ross Cameron who was present at the function.
Outspoken independent senator Cory Bernardi has hit out at cartoonist Larry Pickering and former Liberal MP Ross Cameron for delivering an “own goal” against conservatives by making “totally inappropriate” comments at a controversial fundraising dinner.
Bernardi has learned nothing from Trump. He believes that we can save conservatism by damning conservatives in our midst for saying things that are deemed unacceptable by the Left. Conservatives have become so inured to the progressive Left political agenda that they parrot it as their own and use it to police their own ranks. Australian conservatives cannot be trusted to undo the damage done by progressivism because they themselves have been infected by the same virus. Conservatism is dead in the water and Bernardi’s new party is a dead man walking. It is over even before it has begun.
Contrast Australian conservative’s performance with the release of Marine le Pen’s first campaign advertisement.
A commenter at centre-right blog Catallaxy files took issue with the clip.