Bernardi’s Rebellion


Parliament returned this week and the comedy began immediately.

The almost worshipful spectacle of bowing and scraping before the holy Aboriginal welcome to country/smoking ceremony of our highest elected officials was absurdist theatre at its best.

Watching those who consider themselves our lords and masters painting their faces like pagan savages while highly-paid native officials almost choke them to death with eucalyptus smoke was rather chuckle-inducing.

The event was only made funnier by the contrast between Malcolm struggling to hold back emotional leftist tears and the ever so slightly less enthusiastic look on Barnaby Joyce’s paint-daubed face.

If that wasn’t enough to provoke a smirk, Malcolm’s poll numbers continued to slide, racking up one of the worst post-election Newspoll results in the last thirty years. Malcolm the Great is actually making Bill Shorten, a borderline-corrupt union hack with the speaking tone of a see-saw and the emotional control of a broken pie-hurling machine, into a viable Prime Ministerial candidate.

But that’s just the beginning of the comedy.

The quagmire of the gay marriage plebiscite has entertainingly divided the left into piles of screaming hysterical random denunciation.

On one side are those terrified that the positive poll numbers they have been gloating over have been concealing a more conservative truth; and on the other are those who so desperately want sexual partners of the same sex to be able to play dress up while annoying Christians that they will even risk letting ordinary people decide.

Back in the world of sanity, watching Pauline Hanson break Xenophon and Hinch over Islam on Sky News  was more eye-opening than funny. Those two pretenders have sadly managed to ride the wave of anti-establishment populism without letting many of their voters see the establishment faces behind the rebel mask. Xenophon’s open leftism is beginning to stick out like a badly-swelled sore thumb, but even that looks good next to the narcissistic self-aggrandising opportunist Hinch. Watching Pauline cut them down to size was a definite source of jollity.

The hysterical screaming from leftists on Twitter when climate skeptic Liberal MP Craig Kelly was appointed chairman of the backbench environment and energy committee might have been enough to bring a tear of laughter to a glass eye, but imagining the scene when Tony Abbott apparently asked the woman he wrongfully arranged to have imprisoned to come around for a cuppa and a chat topped even that.

Amidst the side-splitting spectacle of the people we pay so much to do so little pretending to be serious statesmen, comes rumours and leaks that should be cause amongst the Australian Right, not just for giggles but squeals of glee.

Katherine Murphy (that seldom-smiling redheaded Guardian journalist with the serious glasses, normally seen pontificating tonelessly on the ABC) has been picking up whispers in the Senate regarding the fight for free speech. On Monday night Murphy and her colleague Gabriel Chan published an article filled with the usual return-to-parliament scuttlebutt, including:

“South Australian Liberal senator Cory Bernardi was seen walking the corridors collecting signatures for his private members bill which seeks to wind back some of the protections under the section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. It’s understood Bernardi currently has support from at least half a dozen Coalition colleagues.”

Such rumours are, of course, a dime a dozen. But the next day Murphy followed up on the Guardian Australian Politics Live coverage.

In a story I published last night, I noted the Liberal senator Cory Bernardi had been seen stalking the corridors yesterday collecting signatures for his private member’s bill, which aims to remove the words “insult” and “offend” from the RDA.

His effort seems to be progressing well. The bush mail inside the Coalition informs me he’s signed up every backbencher in the upper house in the Liberal and National parties with the exception of Jane Hume, a new Liberal from Victoria. The bill now could have support from as many as 20 senators, if we throw in the crossbench. That’s obviously a sizeable minority of senators, a minority that will be pretty hard for the prime minister to ignore, which is presumably why Malcolm Turnbull has recently switched his line from no, we are not overhauling the RDA, to we are not overhauling the RDA “yet.” Bernardi won’t confirm he has 20 but he’s told me he’s “heartened by the level of support I’ve received”.

As all good XYZ readers know, the so-called “hate speech” laws are a blight on our society and an insult to everyone on the right, from pot-smoking Libertarians to Bible-bashing Social Conservatives.

Personally, I will believe that the gusanos that comprise the majority of Senators in the Parliamentary Liberal Party have regained some semblance of spine or principle when I see it. But with the likes to sneering, snobbish Leftist hacks like Richard Ackland gloating that:

“Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act is here to stay, so you wonder why this clutch of Senate crossbenchers, interplanetary Liberals and associated claqueurs in the Murdoch press continue to bang their heads against the wall in an exercise of stupefying pointlessness.”

It’s good to see that our man Cory is still fighting the good fight, and that he might actually have more company than pessimists like myself believed.

When the economic ideologies of the Left were proven irrevocably bankrupt by the fall of the Soviet Union they didn’t stop spruiking socialism. When Kevin Rudd led women and children to watery graves on our northern shore, the left didn’t abandon its mad obsession with open borders. When terror attack after terror attack comes from the same particular demographic group no matter the location around the world, the Left doesn’t stop twice to think that maybe, just maybe this isn’t all “whiteys” fault.

The left has insane ideas, but they never stop fighting for them. Those on the right sometimes assume that good will prevail simply because reality has such an obvious conservative bias.

It’s good to at least hear rumblings that amidst the clown show that is Australian politics, some Senators returning to Canberra this week are willing to fight for what is right.