Peter Brent writes in Inside Story (28.12.16) about suggestions that outspoken Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi is considering forming a breakaway conservative party, supposedly drawing inspiration from Donald Trump’s success in ‘hijacking’ the US Republican Party. The author argues, however, that Pauline Hanson has more in common with the President-elect than the maverick South Australian senator does.
‘South Australian Senator Cory Bernardi is said to be preparing to quit the Liberals and launch a new party. Perhaps. It is rumoured. The signs are there. And he would, apparently, be bankrolled by mining magnate Gina Rinehart.
‘Bernardi appears to have drawn great inspiration from Donald Trump’s success in the United States. But if the aim is to emulate the American president-elect, The Cory begins with some massive drawbacks.
‘Trump was a showman with a massive domestic profile, thanks in part to his reality TV show. He commandeered a major political party and rode it to high office. Bernardi, by contrast, wouldn’t be recognised in the street by the vast majority of Australians. A humourless ideologue who actually seems to believe what he says, and nothing if not consistent, he couldn’t be more different from the American charlatan.
‘… The major faultline in the federal Coalition involves two politicians who actually are household names: Barnaby Joyce and Pauline Hanson. If centre-right cohesiveness does suffer strain in 2017, it’s likely to come from the lure of One Nation, mostly among, but not restricted to, rural voters.
‘Hanson’s profile, language and prescriptions make her the closest thing to Australia’s Donald Trump, with one big difference: she hasn’t hijacked a major party.’