Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi says the penetration of the far-right in mainstream politics has nudged him out of the limelight.
The Gold Coast Bulletin reports, speaking at the Australian Conservatives’ campaign launch on the Gold Coast, Senator Bernardi said he was used to making headlines, but now struggles to capture attention.
“What I find interesting is that I used to be the most controversial person in politics,” he said.
“And yet now, everything that I’ve been talking about for a long time is spoken quite widely. You know, people are concerned about the cultural mix in Australia, about the education standards, they’re worried about the indoctrination of our children. They’re worried about immigration and balancing the budget,” Senator Bernardi said.
“That’s also mainstream. That’s great, but what I lament is that other people are trying to push the barrow into directions that I think are really unhealthy for the country,” Senator Bernardi said his party will not stoop to the lows of other minor parties to draw attention.
He pointed to One Nation leader Pauline Hanson and contentious Senator Fraser Anning – whose comments in the wake of the Christchurch massacre have been dubbed “reprehensible” by Australian Conservatives senate candidate Lyle Shelton.
“I bear no Ill will to (Senator Anning) but there’s a temperance you’re meant to apply and a filter of common sense. I think it’s wrong for us to say we should have a migration policy that prohibits people due to their ideas or based on their skin colour from coming to the country,” Senator Bernardi said.
“But I’ve also seen inconsistency in One Nation’s approach. Clive Palmer has reinvented himself and I know his message has adopted a lot of our policy and is very loud.”
The South Australian senator went as far as classifying his brand of Christian conservatism as a growing “counter culture”.
“In the 60s it was the hippies who annoyed their parents, now if you’re a student and you go home and say you’re a conservative, your parents go ‘what, what?’,” he said.
“You’re sort of the revolutionaries of our time.
“But politics is a pendulum and I think things are swinging back (to the right).”