Cory Bernardi says the Australian Conservatives remain the country’s third political force despite being reduced to just two parliamentary representatives with the defection of the party’s sole remaining South Australian MP.
The Australian newspaper reports, the decision of South Australian legislative councillor Dennis Hood to join the Liberals a week after they won state government leaves the Conservatives with leader, South Australian Senator Bernardi in Canberra and Victorian state MP Rachel Carling-Jenkins.
Senator Bernardi said Mr Hood’s decision, which he learned of via a leaked text message during the Liberals’ first joint partyroom meeting yesterday, was disappointing.
“It was a shock to me, but it is taken, in light, I guess of Dennis’s own future career prospects,” Senator Bernardi said.
“I have no doubt at all there will be many in the Liberal Party celebrating the move and plenty of people out there saying ‘great, this will hurt Cory Bernardi’, but in the end it doesn’t.”
The Conservatives will continue pre-selections for the Senate for the next election, “our immediate goal ahead of the Victorian election in November”, Senator Bernardi said.
“As the third-largest party (by membership) in Australia, we know people are committed,” he said.
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