Senate debates

Tuesday, 7 February 2017


Bernardi, Senator Cory

7:50 pm

Photo of Sarah Hanson-YoungSarah Hanson-Young (SA, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

Tonight, Senator Bernardi is preparing to take his seat alongside the great political visionaries of history. Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela—sure, they were okay, but now, thankfully, the world is being given the gift of Cory and his Australian Conservatives. Heavy on rhetoric but light on detail, Senator Bernardi has been pretty tight-lipped today about what his shiny new party will actually stand for, what their policies might be and what principles they will hold dear. Perhaps in his unquestionable wisdom, Senator Bernardi has decided that the Australian people are just not ready for his genius. Maybe that is for the best, because you never know. Just imagine the policies or the commandments that would make up his narcissistic manifesto. Maybe something like, 'I am the lord,' by Cory. 'There shall be no other Corys before me.' 'Though shalt honour thy father and thy mother'—of course, not thy father and thy other father. 'Though shall not lie'—but of course you can still use alternative facts. 'Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's ass'—or any other pets or livestock. Say what you want about his policy platform, but one thing is clear: Senator Bernardi is trying something new. It is visionary. It is exciting. Racist, looney, homophobic, climate sceptic, reactionary, right-wing politics—it is new. Well, of course for Pauline Hanson, Tony Abbott, obviously, Geert Wilders, Donald Trump

Photo of Gavin MarshallGavin Marshall (Victoria, Deputy-President) Share this | | Hansard source

A point of order, Senator Williams?

Photo of John WilliamsJohn Williams (NSW, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

In her speech earlier on this evening, Senator Hanson-Young was referring to 'Malcolm Turnbull', 'Tony Abbott'—and now it is on again. She has been here for over eight and a half years. She should have learnt by now to show some respect by calling those in the other place by the correct title. I ask you to enforce that, please, Mr Acting Deputy President.

Photo of Gavin MarshallGavin Marshall (Victoria, Deputy-President) Share this | | Hansard source

Thank you. You are correct, Senator Williams. Senator Hanson-Young, I would ask you to refer to people in the other place by their correct title.

Photo of Sarah Hanson-YoungSarah Hanson-Young (SA, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

Thank you, Mr Acting Deputy President. It is the excitement that got me!

There was a lot of speculation of what was going to happen during today's big announcement. And, boy, didn't Senator Bernardi milk the media frenzy for everything it was worth. But, of course, Senator Bernardi disappointed the expectant nation when he declared, 'I won't be changing.' What a letdown that was. What a steaming pile of garbage this political party-cum-vanity project is really going to be. It is little more than the watered-down, hyper-American rubbish imported from overseas that was already old when Pauline Hanson, the leader of One Nation, started it years ago.

It is pretty clear what has happened here. The Liberal Party made a serious mistake when they packed up little Cory's lunchbox and sent Senator Bernardi off to the US in the middle of the hyper-Trump election just a few months ago. He has come back with some refried right-wing crap; he has drunk the Trump cordial. And he is desperate to paint himself as the poor man's Trump. How pathetic! At least if you are going to try and build a career in a new political party out of demonising the most vulnerable in our community and tricking the hard done-by into thinking you actually give a damn and you will represent them, be original about it. Don't just try to mimic an old orange blowhard from America. Even his red cap isn't new; it is borrowed.

Let's be honest: this is all about Senator Bernardi; it is not about Australia; it is not even about this place; it is not even about the Liberal Party. This is all about Senator Bernardi. His brave new political movement is nothing more than self-interested opportunism from the very definition of a political insider. He has sorely underestimated the good people of South Australia. I think he will be in for a nasty surprise. South Australians do not want another homophobic bigot. They do not want another climate sceptic. He is going to cop it hard when he tries to ask for their support at the ballot box. South Australians want people who are willing to stand up for vulnerable, stand up for the environment, stand up for our diverse and emerging economies, stand up for renewal energy—(Time expired)