Federal Coalition MP George Christensen has called for the Turnbull government to become more conservative, warning that if it does not stick to its loyalties there could be a time where his position in the party would be “no longer tenable”.
The Queensland MP said a lot of people had told him to “pull the pin” on the Government and go with another entity, stressing he remained loyal to Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, the Nationals and local party members.
But he issued a warning on Facebook, saying he would consider his future in the party if it failed to be “more loyal” to grassroots supporters.
“What the Turnbull Government needs to do is start being more loyal to the voters and the party members who sent us here or there will come a time when remaining inside the tent is no longer tenable to my conscience or my voters,” he said.
Mr Christensen said the Coalition needed to be seen as a conservative government, otherwise it risks losing support to parties like One Nation and Katter’s Australian Party.
The time is going to have to come to deliver for those people with conservative values in the electorate and to be seen as a conservative government.
“We can’t go on pretending that we’re not.”
Christensen says he is not alone
He said his concerns were shared with others in the party, including Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi, who established the Australian Conservatives movement earlier this year.
The move sparked speculation the South Australian senator was planning to form a breakaway party, something the Liberal senator denied at the time.
Mr Christensen said Senator Bernardi’s future in the party was a matter for him, but believed “at this stage” the South Australian was not intending to leave.
“I don’t know that Cory is going anywhere at this stage,” he said.
He said both he and Senator Bernardi believed the Coalition should be “unashamed” that it is the major conservative force in Australian politics.
“We are a conservative government. We should act like a conservative government,” Mr Christensen said.
“If that means being stronger on issues of national security, if it means taking a stance on some of the issues that we’re seeing Pauline Hanson being used as a lightning rod for, then we should do those things.”
In a statement on Twitter, former prime minister Tony Abbott said a “strong, cohesive and sound” Liberal party was best for Australians.