Trump backer plans to stay in Aussie Parliament

Senator Cory Bernardi, 47, joins the ranks of politicians seeking to capitalise on voter frustration with mainstream politics.
Senator Cory Bernardi, 47, joins the ranks of politicians seeking to capitalise on voter frustration with mainstream politics.PHOTO: EPA

CANBERRA - A Donald Trump-supporting conservative Australian lawmaker who quit Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's Liberal Party has said he plans to stay in the Senate and position his new party as a "principled alternative" to mainstream politics.

Senator Cory Bernardi said yesterday that he had no plans to exit the Senate and wants his new Australian Conservatives party to act as a "cop on the beat" in the nation's Upper House, after exiting the Liberals just seven months on from his re-election for a six-year term.

"There are many conservative voters who are enthusiastic about having a credible and principled conservative alternative," he told Sky News.

Mr Bernardi, 47, joins the ranks of politicians seeking to capitalise on voter frustration with mainstream politics. The senator, who welcomed the election of Mr Trump as US president, said last year that he wanted to be a "catalyst for change" in Australia.

CONSERVATIVE ALTERNATIVE

There are many conservative voters who are enthusiastic about having a credible and principled conservative alternative.

SENATOR CORY BERNARDI, who says he wants his new party to act as a "cop on the beat" in Australia's Upper House.

Mr Bernardi said Mr Trump's executive order to ban citizens of seven mostly Muslim countries from entering the United States was not unprecedented, and that the broad agenda of the Republican Party is "very much in favour" among US citizens.

He is supportive of Australian immigration policies that will more closely scrutinise the impact of migrants on the economy. "There's a very strong case that says, when you look at it on a per-capita income basis, we could halve our existing migration intake," he said.

BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 13, 2017, with the headline 'Trump backer plans to stay in Aussie Parliament'. Print Edition | Subscribe