Senator Cory Bernardi is set to resign from the Liberal Party to form his own “Australian Conservatives” party, despite calls from his colleagues to reconsider.
Bernardi called Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at 7am Tuesday to confirm his resignation, and is expected to make a formal announcement at 12.30pm Tuesday.
“The point that Cory needs to reflect on is he is in the Parliament by virtue of the endorsement of the South Australian Liberal Party,” the Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg told Q&A on Monday. “He’s always been treated courteously within the Liberal Party and our party resembles that broad church of views.”
Liberal MP Craig Kelly said Bernadi should “have maybe one last think… You can do a lot more inside the Liberal party, working for, arguing those things that you believe in, than actually outside the tent.”
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton told ABC Radio that Bernardi’s resignation was a “betrayal of Liberal party values… We can most effectively defeat the Labor party at the next election if we’re united and we stick together as a party.”
Bernardi reportedly decided to form his own party after watching the anti-establishment trend in the US and Britain, as well as consulting with former prime minister Tony Abbott.