Bolt’s idea for Bernardi-led right wing party may be blessing for Turnbull

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Andrew Bolt flags possibility of ultra-right party led by Cory Bernardi. That could be good news for Turnbull and climate policies.

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It is pretty clear from the first two days of Malcolm Turnbull’s prime-ministership that the new man is full of good ideas and longer sentences, but finds himself completely constrained from putting these into policy changes.

The man who, for so long, has derided Tony Abbott’s Direct Action and called for substantial efforts in cutting emissions finds himself singing the praises of the current policy. He’s been forced to do the same on same-sex marriage.

The reason is simple. Turnbull only got voted in because he made certain promises to the right wing of the party who booted him out six years earlier because he supported an emissions trading scheme.

Turnbull could make some changes to the policy – maybe expressing support for renewables, longer-dating the renewable energy target, and fiddling with the “safeguard mechanism” to give Direct Action more bite – but until he is free of the right wing rump, there is little he can do.

Leading right wing commentator Andrew Bolt – who, like other leading lights in the ultra conservative commentariat such as Alan Jones, Steve Price, Miranda Devine and Tim Blair, are seething about the toppling of their Tony – has suggested there is talk of creating a new party for conservatives, as opposed to Liberals.

Bolt said on Network Ten’s The Project: “There is talk – really loose talk, I’m not beating it up into something bigger than it is – of where is there a party for conservatives?

“Will there be, in the future, a party for conservatives? I think that might turn out to be the problem. In the Senate you might get conservatives thinking, ‘I’ll vote for someone else’.”

CORY BERNARDI PRESS CLUBThe Project host Waleed Aly suggested Liberal MP Cory Bernardi, the ultra conservative South Australian Senator who has been the most openly hostile to Turnbull’s rise, as the potential leader of such a party.

“Well,” Bolt said. “Obviously that’s one person you might look to.”

As the SMH noted, Bernardi has been widely ridiculed for his views on climate change (it’s nothing to do with humans), women (it’s OK to treat them a bit rough sometimes), Islam (it is fundamentally bad) and same-sex relations (they are akin to bestiality).

Bernardi himself has refused to rule out leaving the Liberals, when asked on Wednesday by Fairfax Media.

But the creation of a Bernardi Party, or a right wing party of similar ilk, might just be a blessing for Turnbull. It would force so many Liberals to choose between the centre-right traditions of the party, or the reactionary views of an Australian Tea Party, or an Australian version of UKIP.

It would really have no hope of being elected, but would make a lot of noise, with the help of many Murdoch columnists and think tanks such as the IPA.

This would free Turnbull up to pursue the centrist policies he has spent so much time espousing: a carbon price for emissions reduction; investment in new technologies to ensure that Australia remains a smart economy able to compete in a changing world. If he can’t do that, then what’s the point of a Turnbull government?

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16 Comments
  1. adam 3 years ago

    This dynamic will be an interesting part of the short term future. Abbott was disliked by the electorate, and Malcolm seems to be welcomed, but was 80% of Abbott the embodiment of the party?

    Michelle Grattan’s first words on the spill were about Turnbull’s lessons in compromise from his own toppling from opposition. I’m not convinced this new PM will herald the change everyone was hoping for.

  2. Rob G 3 years ago

    I think overall Australians will feel more comfortable with Turnbull as he wrestles the LNP back to the centre right. The likes of Bernardi belong in a fringe party as they represent just a small part of the population. I certainly hope he departs, he won’t be missed and I suspect Labor will be more likely to get onboard with Turnbull. I think Turnbull will create a front bench that will be more progressive (he will keep one or two token right wing people there) And then he will move to ramp up the renewables.

    • MichaelA 3 years ago

      “I think Turnbull will create a front bench that will be more progressive (he will keep one or two token right wing people there)”

      Quite right. Turnbull really is a progressive – he has only made promises to conservatives like the Nationals in order to keep them quiet.
      Once he is secure in power he will bring in all the causes he has believed in for so long: Gay Marriage, the Republic, Action on Climate Change, unlimited Abortion.

  3. Chris Fraser 3 years ago

    Turnbull at least appears to be Abbott’s equal in terms of conviction, but different convictions … and more centre-ground convictions. He is personally more likeable, not ruling sovereign-like over others and not intimidating them. If this cause has a hope, it will have to be with leaders that don’t identify with hate and divisiveness.

  4. tsport100 3 years ago

    I think it’s pathetic how so called “shock jock” commentators are referred to by others in the media like they’re actually involved in the process of government.
    Seriously, these tabloid fools have a commercial interest in talking above their station… lest they get ignored for being the vacuous echo chambers that they are..

  5. John Anderson 3 years ago

    “The Project host Waleed Aly suggested Liberal MP Cory Bernardi” How do you see that as A.Bolts idea??

  6. Andrew_Nichols 3 years ago

    The reason is simple. Turnbull only got voted in because he made certain promises to the right wing of the party who booted him out six years earlier because he supported an emissions trading scheme. ie He has no firm principles other than his political success

    • Peter 3 years ago

      Indeed he had to make major compromises against all his beliefs to get the top job he has been seeking all his adult life. I don’t see any significant policy changes through to the election but this could change if the LNP win the election – though I won’t be holding my breath.

  7. Crackers23 3 years ago

    Bolt and co need to extract their heads from their rear end and get back to real world.

  8. John Saint-Smith 3 years ago

    “where is there a party for conservatives?”
    I’m sure we could find an old Indonesian fishing boat from the bad old days before they were STOPPED and float it out somewhere on the Indian Ocean next to MH370.
    And I have already picked the Captain.

  9. trackdaze 3 years ago

    it goes against the adage keep your friends close and your enemies even closure. But if bernardi and his ilk were to go it would improve the liberals IQ and make it easier to pivot to some sensible policy.

    All academic in a sense as the greens under dinatale appear to have momentum thanks to the far right influenced libs.

    Australia really dodged a bullet with the balance of the senate saving us from some (not all) horendous policy. Imagine for a moment had abbott&co had a favorable senate?

  10. Edward Borland 3 years ago

    Time to compartmentalise the crazies like a record full of bad songs. If the Libs move to being the Liberal party again they might be in a position to negotiate with other blocks and actually make something happen.

  11. Nicholas Higgins 3 years ago

    Therein rests the error in the article. In no way shape or form is Turnbull a centrist. You just have to look at his voting history.
    All the ‘centrist’ policies he’s espoused are those preferred by the public. He also espouses workplace reform to individual contracts. He also now espouses the Liberal-National support for cutting penalty rates for workers, as well as the myth that a rise in the minimum wage will “discourage employment” and lastly, claims unfair dismissal protection is a “tax on employment”. (My thanks to Van Badham for the research)
    If you think he’s a centrist, please, please, please never take up archery or any form of target practice.

  12. MichaelA 3 years ago

    “But the creation of a Bernardi Party, or a right wing party of similar ilk, might just be a blessing for Turnbull.”
    Of course it would be. But its only a figment of Waleed Aly’s imagination, so why even talk about it?
    Turnbull is confident that the conservative voters angered by his knifing of Howard won’t actually do anything about it. They will vent, and then quietly go along with what he has done, and vote LIberal at the next election. He is absolutely certain of this, so he doesn’t have to worry about what they think.

  13. Kevin O'Dea 3 years ago

    Punters should never, ever forget that Pauline Hanson was originally an endorsed federal candidate for the Liberal Party in Queensland before she went off the rails. I do think all LNP members are tarred with the same brush as their more extremist mates if they accept these ideologies into their broad church. Menzies would not be impressed.

  14. Mark Vegar 3 years ago

    As usual the left wing commentators in the media have reported their information incorrectly regarding comments made by Senator Bernardi in the past. Perhaps they should try lifting direct quotes in context and maintain some kind of journalistic integrity.

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