According to numerous sources, Cory Bernardi is set to deregister the Australian Conservatives, enabling his return to the Liberal Party. But can he do that?
Now, I’m not entirely sure if it is a euphemism or not, but Cory Bernardi is set to deregister his party and will “go fishing in Coffin Bay”.
After his morbid sabbatical, Bernardi is most likely set to rejoin the Liberal Party, a move that Mathias Cormann has purportedly endorsed. There’s a certain amount of drama afoot, as he’s rejoining the organisation that he felt betrayed him back in 2017, thereby motivating him to create his own. The acidic feeling was mutual at the time, as Peter Dutton and Simon Birmingham classified Bernardi’s move as a “betrayal” and a “dog act”, and he earned a rather swift rebuke from Barnaby Joyce, who felt Bernardi displayed cowardice, stating that “bravery presides in staying in the party and trying to change the party, not running away because you can’t handle the heat of the kitchen.”
— The Australian (@australian) June 20, 2019
With the surly triumvirate remaining, it will certainly be an awkward homecoming for Cory. However, in the interest in weaning ourselves from pointless political drama, it clearly illustrates the value the Liberals places on loyalty, as one can leave the party, and return when you like. It also represents how far they’ve oscillated from the right side of the centre, as Bernardi couldn’t stomach Turnbull, but seemingly, those problems no longer exist.
Bernardi had to quit the frontbench back in 2012, after suggesting legalising same-sex marriage would lead to bestiality. “There are even some creepy people out there who say it is OK to have consensual sexual relations between humans and animals,” he said at the time.
However, the ultimate power remains with the Liberals, as per Paul Osborne, the Canberra Bureau Chief of the Associated Press, Bernardi can rejoin without “the need for any other process”. Further to that point, per the ABC’s Antony Green, Bernardi’s seat (if he leaves as an independent) returns back to the party he was originally elected by, which in this case, is the Liberal Party.
It’s fair to say that the Australian Conservative project failed, as outside of Bernardi (who retained his seat), the other most notable member of the party, Lyle Shelton, managed to bag sixteen votes in the recent election.