Preference deals are 'an amazing case of virtue signalling': Bernardi

April 29, 2019

Australian Conservatives’ leader Cory Bernardi has labelled voting preferences an 'amazing case of virtue signalling', but argues that major Parties don't address the fact that 'the system forces people to make preference decisions'. 

Senator Bernardi says neither of the major Parties will move to get rid of compulsory preferential voting because 'they know their votes would plummet'.

The Australian Conservatives Senator says moving away from compulsory preferential voting would 'remove the lock on the red or blue team forming government'.

Senator Bernardi told Chris Kenny on Sky News, “You know the lock is in, when they reform the Senate vote. And in the Senate now, you don’t have to number all the boxes, there’s no voting tickets.”

Senator Bernardi continued, “In fact, a valid vote is just 1, you can vote for the party of your choice - even though the parties have to advertise you’ve got to choose a minimum of six above the line. But they didn’t change the House of Representatives system and that’s because they knew they would be disadvantaged by it.”

The South Australian Senator also emphasised that Senate rivals One Nation and the United Australia Party are not conservative parties, “One Nation is built around a personality and it’s built around grievances and voicing discontent. But there are no consistent policy solutions from a conservative point of view.”

“They don’t believe in smaller government, then they say they do but then they vote for more debt-funded education funding with no permanent outcomes. They say they’re opposed to the Paris agreement and yet they then vote to support emissions reductions on weed whackers and lawn mowers which are designed to mitigate climate change. It’s completely inconsistent,” he said.

Senator Bernardi said of Clive Palmer’s party, “What he did when he was in parliament, when he turned up, was completely contrary to what he’s rallying about now. I don’t mind saying that Clive Palmer has clearly visited our website, plucked a whole bunch of our policies and taken them and he’s been able to promote them with a bank balance of tens of millions of dollars.”

“I saw where this was headed some years ago. That in reality, there is a growing number of people who are unhappy with the blue team or the red team. They’re voicing that in the Senate and I said unless there was a credible and principled alternative for people, then that vote would go to a bunch of Mavericks, a bunch of policy cocktail people who are making it up on the run,” Senator Bernardi continued.

“The migration policy of One Nation, for example, they’ve changed that so many times you don’t really know what it is any more. Anyone can give a voice to grievance. But actually coming up with a coherent policy response, something that is consistent with values and built around a framework of principles is actually very, very hard and that’s what we have sought strongly to do,” he said.

Senator Bernardi went on, “But right now, it’s clear that if people have been around the political system for 20 plus years or they’ve got 20 plus million dollars to spend, they can influence the body politic more than we can. But I’ll still be there after this  next election, I’ll be reminding whomever forms government about how to be a better one. I hope it’s a Coalition government. I’ll be reminding them of their conscience and where their values should be. And I will never shy away from doing the right thing, not the politically expedient one.”

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