Cory Bernardi Is Getting Ruthlessly Sledged In Parliament After Quitting The Liberal Party

"Maybe Malcolm Turnbull is well rid of Senator Bernardi, because at least he's now out there pissing on everybody else."

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After threatening to quit for months, right-wing senator Cory Bernardi finally stood up in parliament today to announce he was leaving the Liberal Party and starting his own conservative outfit: the Australian Conservatives.

Just minutes after the Senate kicked off proceedings for the first time this year, Bernardi rose to his feet and delivered his ode to the Liberal Party.

“When, as a younger man I joined the ship of state, I was in awe of its traditions and the great captains that guided us on our way,” he said. “But now as the seas through which we sail become ever more challenging, the respect for the values and principles that have served us well seem to have been set aside for expedient, self-serving, short-term ends.”

I know what you’re wondering: what the hell is a “ship of state”? Turns out it’s one of Plato’s weird ideas. Who knew?

After Bernardi wrapped up, George Brandis chipped in his two cents, telling the senate it was “always a sad day when someone leaves the family”, which all sounds very The Godfather

But that’s as nice as it got for Cory. Next up was Greens leader Richard Di Natale. And he went in. 

“In Senator Bernardi we have six-and-a-half feet of ego but not an inch of integrity,” Di Natale thundered. “Not an inch.” Why does Di Natale know Bernardi’s exact height? Nobody knows, but it’s a good sledge so who cares.

“I would’ve respected that speech if he’d given it a year ago, before he had stood as a Liberal Party candidate and waited to give himself a six-year term in the senate,” Di Natale said. “What a hypocrite. He has shown himself to be a person lacking in integrity and substance.”

Di Natale also used Bernardi’s defection as an opportunity to slam the government, saying “this shows we have a divided government, where the right-hand doesn’t know what the far-right hand is doing anymore.”

If you thought Di Natale went hard, let me introduce you to Victorian Senator Derryn Hinch:

“To hear him standing there talking about principle, when he has stood as a Liberal candidate and has been elected by the people of South Australia as a Liberal candidate, I think is a joke,” Hinch said of Bernardi.

“They voted for a Liberal senator. Below the line, Senator Bernardi got something like 2,000 votes, yet he stands up here and talks about principle. It sounds crude but it reminds me of the words of President Lyndon Johnson, who once said of a critic of his party, ‘I’d rather have him inside the tent pissing out, then outside the tent pissing in.’ Well, maybe Malcolm Turnbull is well rid of Senator Bernardi, because at least he’s now out there pissing on everybody else.”

Just in case you thought we were done hearing about US presidents and golden showers, the acting Senate President, the Greens’ Peter Whish-Wilson, interrupted Hinch. “I’ll draw your attention to the standing orders… you’re sailing pretty close to the wind here,” Whish-Wilson said.

“Okay, I’ll take it back there,” Hinch replied. “But I’m leaving the quote from President Johnson because he’s a president and he said it.”

And that, folks, was Day One of Australian parliament for 2017.