Australian Conservatives and South Australian Upper House MP Dennis Hood has abandoned Cory Bernardi’s party and join the newly elected State Liberal Government.
The Liberal party room has approved a motion to allow Mr Hood to join the party.
Mr Hood was the Australian Conservatives parliamentary leader in SA, and was likely to be its only member, with Robert Brokenshire set to lose his seat.
Mr Hood was elected to SA Parliament’s Legislative Council in 2006 representing Family First, but he joined the Australian Conservatives when it amalgamated with Family First last year.
The surprise move was revealed at the first Liberal partyroom meeting since the state election.
At the meeting, Steven Marshall was also re-endorsed as the party’s leader and, by extension, the state’s Premier.
It is not the first time the Australian Conservatives have been dealt a parliamentary blow.
Former Family First candidate Lucy Gichuhi chose not to join Senator Bernardi’s party when she entered the Senate last year.
Senator Gichuhi subsequently joined Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s Liberal party room.
In a video response posted on Twitter, Senator Bernardi expressed disappointment in Mr Hood’s defection.
“Of course, I’m disappointed by that. But it’s up to every individual to justify their own decisions,” he said.
Mr Bernardi used the video to send a message to Australian Conservatives’ supporters and members.
“We’re going to continue to pursue our principled approach to politics come hell or high water,” he said.
“Stick with us, we will achieve our goals. We just need to have the resolve to see them through to completion.”