Australian senator to launch new conservative party as shift to right grows

Support for the Liberal Party and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has slipped to its lowest point since Tony Abbott was rolled

Fellow backbencher Russell Broadbent is said to have also criticised Senator Bernardi for not turning up to the meeting.

He added: "The level of public disenchantment with the major parties, the lack of confidence in our political process and the concern about the direction of our nation is very, very strong".

Senior Coalition MP Greg Hunt said he disappointed in Senator Bernardi's decision, particularly as he wasn't just elected as a Liberal and went to the voters as a Liberal but "was elected on the basis of the platform which still stands today".

Attorney-General George Brandis launched a scathing attack on Senator Bernardi, accusing him of "breaking faith" by quitting the Coalition, portraying the move as a betrayal of conservative values.

"My view and my belief is very deep and that is the Liberal Party is the greatest force for improving lives within the Australian parliamentary scene".

He said political leaders were "out of touch" with the Australian people, and his new party would provide hope to "those who despair at the current state of Australian politics".

"We saw a lacklustre campaign, it was bereft of ideas, and people ran away from us at a rate of knots".

Of course, the Liberals have been here before - 20 years ago when Pauline Hanson got over her own disappointment at being expelled from the party by starting her own.

"I would prefer to see Senator Bernardi stay within the Liberal party and do the work that all the members that preselected him in preference to members like myself (expect)", he said.


However he says he differs with parties like One Nation, saying he disagrees with launching a Royal Commission into Islam.

"Perhaps the most hard one of my political life", he said, adding that he has not spoken "to any sitting MPs" with regard to joining his party.

He will have a further five years in the Senate thanks to those voters, but they were given neither explanation nor apology in the chamber.

Senator Bernardi was tight-lipped yesterday on his future amid growing speculation that he would split from the Liberals as early as today and form his own conservative-based party.

She admitted she now knew very little of Senator Bernardi's positions on agriculture policy or in general, "other than that he's a staunch conservative, supports small government, lower taxes and has more conservative views generally".

The story NFF on "mission" to talk with Liberal defector Bernardi first appeared on Farm Online.

"Breaking faith with the electorate, breaking faith with the people who voted for you, breaking faith with the people who have supported you through thick and thin for years, is not a conservative thing to do", he said.

'This resignation is a effect of the failure of leadership by the prime minister, ' she said.

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