Senator Cory Bernardi has announced he is deregistering the Australian Conservatives party he formed in 2017 after its disappointing result at the federal election.
In a statement released on Thursday afternoon, Senator Bernardi said the party’s “steady and sensible” Senate-only campaign had not worked and “as a party we received a tiny fraction of the votes we needed to be successful”.
“It was frustrating that some single-interest parties gained more votes than we did despite having next to no electoral presence or campaign resources,” Senator Bernardi said.
“However, some solace can be found in the fact we never compromised on our principles in pursuit of political sugar-hits.
“Many said that I needed to deliberately court controversy to gain media attention during the election campaign. While that may have worked, it would have undermined the very premise of what we offered to the Australian people – a credible and principled alternative to the political fringe.”
An important notice for the future of the Australian Conservatives
— Aust Conservatives (@AuConservatives) June 20, 2019
Senator Bernardi, 49, succeeded in retaining his Senate seat representing South Australia.
Finalised on Wednesday, the Upper House will comprise 35 Liberal-National senators of the total 76 seats. Labor will have 26, with nine Greens, two One Nation, two Centre Alliance, Senator Bernardi and Tasmanian independent Jacqui Lambie.
Formed in February 2017 when “the times were very different” and “Malcolm Turnbull was leading a Labor-lite Coalition into political oblivion”, the Australian Conservatives attracted 22,000 members in its first year.
But the elevation of Scott Morrison to the Coalition leadership enabled many Conservatives to breathe “a sigh of relief that a man of faith and values was leading the Liberals back to their traditional policy platform”.
“It was heartening to hear the government promise to ‘burst the Canberra bubble’, acknowledge immigration and taxes were too high, push back against the PC brigade and stick up for Australia’s interests over the internationalists,” he said.
“The inescapable conclusion from our lack of political success, our financial position and the re-election of a Morrison-led government is that the rationale for the creation of the Australian Conservatives is no longer valid.”