Celebrating a decade in the Senate

swearing_in.jpgToday marks ten years since I became a Senator for South Australia.

The time has passed so quickly that it almost seems like a blur. However, on reflection, there have been momentous events that have changed the nature of politics, and our nation, at almost every level.

Over the past ten years, Australia has experienced six Prime Ministers and five Treasurers. We have seen enduring budget surpluses replaced by seemingly perpetual deficits and our national accounts running up a debt that will be left to future generations to repay.

At every turn, I have sought to apply the founding principles of the Liberal Party in my response to the issues facing our nation. My instinct and my actions have always been to reduce government spending, reduce taxation, support small business, support families, defend our values and strengthen our community. At times it has seemed a very lonely path to tread - albeit an important one.

After ten years, my commitment to these principles is undiminished. I still firmly believe they are in the best interests of our nation and are the key to a sustainable future.

The past ten years have also seen me experience the vicissitudes of politics.

The highs and lows of public life are seldom fair but they can certainly be frustrating. I have held and lost frontbench roles. My critics have been vocal in their condemnation, but have rarely offered any conciliation when they eventually recognise the truth and, hypocritically, echo similar sentiments.  

However, the journeymen and self-interested apparatchiks of politics have never mattered to me. I have always sought to represent the interests of the silent majority; sought always to be true to myself and proudly stand as being principled and consistent in my approach.

Looking back, I cannot help but be struck by the incredibly short-term nature of the political cycle. What was normal only a few years ago is considered an extremist view today. What previously was just weird and creepy is now supposedly the new normal. It’s also clear the mainstream public don’t buy these new orthodoxies but thanks to a pom-pom cheer squad in the media, the political class seems unwilling (or afraid) to challenge it.

Perhaps politics has always been thus – challenges to the status quo result in the abandonment of principle at the slightest criticism – but I would prefer to think that it hasn't.

As an outsider, I recall the battles of the Howard government. In a conversation with students in Parliament House this week, I spoke of the oft-heard phrase in respect to Prime Minister John Howard: “I don’t like him very much but…”

The ‘but’ was the most important word because irrespective of their personal opinion, the utterers believed that John Howard was truly acting in what he believed was the national interest. Now I am not naive enough to think that Howard didn't get the politics of circumstances but he was perceived to be governing in accordance with consistent principles and on behalf of all Australians.

As Benjamin Disraeli is reported to have said, “The secret of success is constancy of purpose”.

John Howard was perceived to be consistent in his approach and built the respect of the voters for having the courage of his convictions. In office, he wore a constant barrage of public criticism but in the near decade since, he is now revered as an inspiration to many more Australians.

I believe Australians once again hunger for that constancy of purpose. The application of principles and values in the decision making of today. There is also a yearning for stability and this is one reason the Turnbull government is ripe for re-election.

Since Howard, no Australian Prime Minister has managed to stay in office for even the tenure of their first term. We’ve had a revolving door of leaders that has seen the influence of self-interest trump the national interest. It’s not too long a bow to conclude that the public have 'changing PM fatigue' and that they want to give Malcolm Turnbull a chance to strut his stuff.

Our nation faces some very specific challenges. Some economic, some social and some cultural; but they are challenges we must eventually face up to.

After ten years of being the ‘canary in the political coalmine’, warning of what is to come, my commitment to the application of conservative principles in government is undiminished. Having been privileged to serve in the Senate for exactly a decade, with your support and on your behalf, I’ll still be fighting for you and the national interest for many years to come.

Thank you and God bless.


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  • commented 2016-05-09 06:33:41 +0930
    We need statesman who has the good of the country at the top of the agenda.
    I think the LNP threw away that person when they ditched Tony Abbott & installed Malcolm Turnbull… Who has Malcolm Turnbull at the top of his agenda.
    We are heading for the same fate as Greece, & will get there faster with Bill Shorten.
    What a mess!
    I don’t want to vote for Turnbull, but CAN’T vote for Shorten.
  • commented 2016-05-07 16:52:39 +0930
    Thank you Cory for staying true to your beliefs and values, I agree John Howard is a statesman who, with integrity and purpose, fought to serve the national interest. However I believe your support for Malcom Turnball is misguided. He is a self serving egotist who gets on whatever latest bandwagon seems trendy just like our previous few PMs. I believe it is time for to use your talents elsewhere, either on your own or with a party like Family First who actually get and care about the real Australia. I will not vote for either of our major parties. None of them are worthy or have integrity. Bless you Cory
  • commented 2016-05-06 18:23:15 +0930
    I have always voted libs mate, John Howard had this country running sweet as a nut, and I definitely like the way you think and go about things. However, I will not vote for turdball the backstabbing filth. I fear this will be the year of the independent as it’s a matter of choosing who you dislike least, and who is prepared to stand up to the disease of islam. I don’t even know this country any more.
  • commented 2016-05-06 13:44:26 +0930
    I just had a frightening thought. You don’t think it may be possible that Cory’s office has been infiltrated by a brain washed Turnbull acolyte and he/she is out to protect the drongo from public criticism?
  • commented 2016-05-06 13:38:57 +0930
    Following on from my perviously deleted post. I am afraid I have lost all faith in the Liberal Party they simply jump from supporting one minority idiot scheme that is supported by our Communist media to the next.
    As for friend Malcolm I am afraid I could never vote for, or trust a back stabber. Because that is what he must be defined as after what he did to TA.
  • commented 2016-05-06 13:30:50 +0930
    I a sure it is not Cory but an enthusiastic staffer who has taken Cory’s directions perhaps a tad too far.

    Still love the mans work. He remains one of the few politicians who seem to express the view of the majority unlike our Communist media led by Aunty ABC.
  • commented 2016-05-06 13:20:02 +0930
    Kevin Freer, my comment was also deleted. I only spoke of my dislike for Turnbull and gratitude to Cori, and how I would be voting for a strong cross bench that put Australia and Australians first.
  • commented 2016-05-06 08:59:41 +0930
    The LNP and its role as a conservative party has diminished to the extent where the division between whips and conservatives has widened causing uncertainty amongst its conservative minded supporters whose allegiance now could waver on polling day.

    Your role as a self styled canary is credible, perhaps it is now prudent to change you cage or, fly free leading your own party.
  • commented 2016-05-05 17:31:04 +0930
    Hi Corey, it’s comforting to know there are still normal, conservative representatives in parliament like yourself and Tony Abbott, but I think you’re wasted in a Turnbulls leftist government.
    Please please please join the true Conservative party.. The a Australian liberty Alliance!
    We will welcome you with open arms, and you will do so much more with the support of your party instead of fighting them all the time.
  • commented 2016-05-05 15:54:03 +0930
    Agreeing with Jo.
    Might be time to start the Cory Bernardi Party. If you were to, the support you would get would scare the ???? Out of the major parties and may just be the catalyst for the return of rationality to politics??!!
  • commented 2016-05-05 15:28:52 +0930
    Cori, you have my support as a person and human being but I cannot support your political party anymore, I did so for more than 20 years, not any more. The Liberal party has put us the voters between a rock and a very hard place. We do not agree with your Leadership, and they way it is appointed, and this has nothing to do with Tony Abbott, he has made it clear himself. But it has to do with the new Progressive direction in the party, not wanted by the Australian voter who has always been a central right people, not a progressive central left, even in the labour party it was like that. If the Labor wins the election the Country is going to sink into further debt, and abomination fast, if we vote Liberal, the same will happen just a bit slower.
    Janine Adam I think you comments is very worthwhile reading and want to compliment you on it.
  • commented 2016-05-05 14:23:25 +0930
    Damn it CORY I am grossly disappointed to find the explanation for my comment deleted also. Still love your work BUT! WOULD YOU DO ME THE COURTESY OF EXPLANING WHY MY COMMENT WAS DELETED.
    I do not contribute often so if I have offended in some way please advise as I DO NOT wish to offend and, I do treasure the privelge of having a say on your site.
    Keep up with the good you are doing.
  • commented 2016-05-05 13:31:11 +0930
    This last decade has been the most frustrating, most damaging, most moronic, most bloody minded in Australia’s history. If most members of Government were as fair dinkum as you, we could be the great Country that we were meant to be. All conservative Voters know how bad Shorton is, but Malcontent Turncoat is possibly even more dangerous. Proud to be under The Southern Cross.
    Kind regards, Bryan & Beverly mulholland
  • commented 2016-05-05 09:31:56 +0930
    Cory, Thank you for your voice, and I agreed with your letter, right up until the bit where you thought our reluctance for change would keep the latest cause of needless change in office. At the moment I am pretty convinced that Mr Turncoat would not uphold my conservative values, or support, promote, or recruit conservative people around him. So I and others like me will need to look to another party, or be very selective about the character of the people we vote for…. I’m not going to vote for a liberal politician just because they are of the party any more, because the party is compromised and the individuals are bullied into towing the party line.

    I can’t fully support Liberal, but thankfully my local Labor member is a good man who actually supports my views.
    My only hope at this stage is that Turnbull loses his seat showing once and for all that the media are lousy at telling us what to think.
  • commented 2016-05-05 03:37:51 +0930
    Cory, you will get my vote, but the Liberal party has lost me…they are too intent on pandering to the UN and I don’t vote for the UN. The major parties have lost me and I wouldn’t vote for the Greens in a fit, so I will carefully choose who I want to represent me from those I consider will work for Australia, including yourself.
  • commented 2016-05-05 01:52:09 +0930
    Hi Cory – congrats on your decade in the Senate!

    But my has it changed over those years – unfortunately, it is no longer a States’ house of review but increasingly a smaller replica of the lower house.

    Appreciate your valuable insights on the Howard Govt years. Looking back in hindsight, it was a pity that Treasury and the country were very slow to recognise the emergence of the mining boom. It only became common parlance in the back half of Howard’s last term in office (arguably even 2007) when it had actually begun 4-5 years earlier. The unexplained large surpluses were shoveled out the door, almost to save embarrassment and accusations of over-taxing, by way of personal income tax cuts (good!) and newly created welfare payments and subsidies (or increases in existing ones). This bevy of new outlays reached out to many households that had never been touched or tarred with the welfare brush (drug?) before – households that were once entirely self-reliant and fiercely proud. Over time, these households and their children became increasingly expectant of, dependent on, and addicted to, such outlays – the yearly redistributions of other people’s money. By this, we unleashed a real softening of the conservative base in this country – in mind and soul, both economically and culturally. Labor built on this new space we created and, as they do, did it in spades. As such, we now have a cemented culture or age of entitlement, with most/all recipients happy to play a game of brinkmanship to ensure their benefits/handouts are not the first ones to go (in case the system actually doesn’t collapse). In effect, we are closing in on Greece.

    Had the mining boom been widely recognised soon after its beginning – by Treasury and the political/media class – rather than spawning this new wave of welfare and entitlement, the Howard Govt may instead have successfully argued for a fund to be set up to lock away much of the otherwise unjustifiably large surpluses the boom’s “rivers of gold” were temporarily creating (and still have room to give decent tax cuts). In my opinion, this could have prevented Australia’s second welfare state renaissance (the first being Whitlam’s), deprived Labor of past surpluses to spend (by having made them politically very difficult/costly to unlock), forced Labor politically to lock away at least some of their continuing rivers of gold, and contained Labor’s instincts to relive the Whitlam era by providing a far less ambiguous benchmark in prudence.

    I also felt the Howard Govt needed to engage more in the cultural and history “wars” of the noughties – when clearer lines in the sand probably needed to be drawn and defended back then (especially around school curricula but also multiculturalism). Certain authors and commentators fully engaged, but our politicians seemed somewhat shy or reluctant.

    The Al Gore film (An Inconvenient Truth), and the Nicholas Stern Report that soon followed in Spring 2006, for mine, changed Australia to crazy mode, and changed the overall political dynamic from under Howard’s feet. The Rudd-Gillard team successfully challenged Beazley in late 2006 when the polls had already structurally shifted Labor’s way, and the polls never really started reversing until Abbott took the fight up to Rudd after his first summer vacation as Liberal leader (early 2010).

    Lastly, we should recall that Howard allowed Turnbull to become a Liberal MP in 2004 (by not intervening in an ugly and bruising pre-selection battle in 2003-04 with monarchist and Rhodes scholar Peter King, the then sitting Member for Wentworth) and was instrumental in Turnbull not leaving the Parliament in early 2010 after he had announced he was finished.

    Howard was a great PM and plenty has been written about his fine achievements and wisdom. But I do think some of his calls are worthy of reflection today – for the health and effectiveness of the conservative side of politics going forward.

    All the best in the coming election!
  • commented 2016-05-05 00:54:17 +0930
    Congrats Cory.
    I sincerely hope you review the comments and views from your followers.
    You are the healthy young black sheep amongst what appears to be the herd of useless, flyblown mutton that is todays Liberals.
    The Party will never truly stand for what it once did…ever. It has been infiltrated by greedy, self interested sell-outs.
    The grass is obviously not yet green enough on the other side for you to confidently leave the paddock.
    I have faith that you will one day when you know the time is right.
    You will be a beacon of strength and courage for the silent majority of which you speak.
    The silent majority will not be silent for much longer.
    There is an epic storm on our countries horizon that many know is coming.
    Once it has passed, that’s your time to shine.
    Your unwavering committment to your beliefs and your genuine concern for your fellow Australians is an inspiration to so many and also a huge worry to many ‘others’. They will never sway us.
  • commented 2016-05-04 23:34:39 +0930
    Corey, wether it be 10, 20, 30 or 40 years of corporate blur, we’re now living in an environment of 95’/. of political leadership dissatisfaction from voters.

    Things have to change iether when the devastating effects of the pending financial crisis will fall upon us and people like John Curtin, Ben Chifley, Jack Lang, Goff Whitlam who will stand out as real leaders and make a permanent difference, or there are courageous, brave new leaders like the UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbin now rising to the occasion presenting real solutions to the presant crisis before it happens.

    Let’s talk with our politicians and candidates and ask them real questions to real issues and demand real answers with action!
  • commented 2016-05-04 23:26:39 +0930
    Yes, there is a ‘changing PM fatigue’, but no, we do not want to give Malcom Turnbull a chance to strut his stuff. I somehow doubt you’ll scroll through the comments, Cory, but I feel disappointed there is no further mention of the Conservative Party you once thought of establishing, so I too will be voting for the ALA. Their manifesto is exactly what I’ve been looking for .
  • commented 2016-05-04 22:49:21 +0930
    Jodie I agree the ALA do look like a viable option. Particularly when the Liberals cant manage the fiscal budget and make a strong stand on today’s issues. Oh and with MT at the head of the party. I think even the Nationals look ok to me..! I think it will be a close call.
  • commented 2016-05-04 22:48:49 +0930
    Thanks Cory, but sadly the last decade, with a few exceptions such as yourself and I feel Angus Taylor for Hume are all that is still worth saving of the Liberal Party as Malcolm Turnbull is a traitor to this country in his endeavors to pass us off to the Islamic controlled UN! Not addressing the out of control Islamic influence on our country and the lies and stealing that comes with it! Not sending so called refugees back as they are illegal, because it might offend the UN? All too little and way far too late! So unless you are going to join ALA I am afraid your allegiences to this now defunct liars party is going the same way as Labor and Green! Either left off the ballot altogether, or put DEAD LAST! Time for a complete change of government! We need to dump all the crooks and traitors!
  • commented 2016-05-04 22:03:49 +0930
    Unfortunately Corey the state of politics is far too depressing at present ..leaders with vision are sadly lacking and the voting public too selfish to put the interests of the country first as too preoccupied with the “whats in it for me” mentality……even if we elect a leader with conviction willing to make the hard decisions in the current climate – SUCCESS is a collective effort
  • commented 2016-05-04 21:55:55 +0930
    Well said Della. You covered everything i’m thinking. It’s a sickness in the western democracy’s caused by the left wing ideology. I just got a web leaflet introducing the new ALA Australian Liberty Alliance, for South Australia. John Bolton – the guy looks bloody fantastic. I’m shocked. The ALA are moving fast and they are actually looking like a real political party with thump. Cory, they look more aligned with your policy’s and beliefs than Liberal does. Crazy world. Liberal is looking more like a mix between Hillary Clinton & Labor, Labor looks like small time degenerates on the Hillary Clinton progressive’s side, and the Greens are actually starting to make sense with their new front man at the helm, looking more conservative. We all pardon SHY, she belongs not supporting asylums seekers, but in an asylum. lol. And Barnabi and the Nat’s act like the backbone of the Aussie battler. ???? Has everybody changed sides? There’s a mass migration going globally and it’s not just in the populous. Abandon ship Cory. Your too good for Liberals, they don’t deserve you.
  • commented 2016-05-04 21:47:40 +0930
    Hi Cory, Does our government have a right to create a man-made legal “open marriage” between any 2 people" for the purpose of including same-sex couples? Also, they will have to create a man-made divorce to “open marriage.” This legal “open marriage” and legal divorce will have nothing to do with the religious moral beliefs about marriage and divorce, but instead “open marriage” will be a legal contract based on autonomy and consent. The government will find it hard to keep this “open marriage” as monogamous, life-long and excluding all others. The no-fault divorce has removed marriage being life-long, same-sex couples will remove “excluding all others” because to be a gay or lesbian doesn’t mean they have never had sexual intercourse with a person of the opposite sex. Also, marriage never stopped people whom identified as homosexual from exercising their right to be married. Therefore, “open marriage” won’t be able to stop heterosexuals from marrying their same-sex friend. However, if everyone married their same-sex best friend then this would go against the “survival of the species.”

    Monogamy will eventually be removed because there would be no argument against the “throuples” or multiple spouses, “monogamist” and “wed lease.” “Open marriage” is the desires, feelings, passion and lusts of “fantasy” autonomy even if this goes against religious moral beliefs. Australians understand the meaning of an “open marriage” as it is legal, and allows consenting sexual intercourse outside of marriage which goes against religious morality on marriage being “one flesh.” However, the majority of married couples don’t identify their marriage as an “open marriage.”

    The Australian government will have to make a decision on the meaning and purpose of marriage, and the reason for the government being involved in people’s bedrooms. They will have to decide between the 2 different types of marriages as they’re extremely different in practice and the consequences are entirely different, and the law can’t equally support and protect both of them. 1. “Open marriage” or 2. the current marriage is a public, life-long commitment to the behavioural practice of sexual intercourse “one flesh” between one man and one woman, excluding all others for the benefit of children. This is a fundamental behavioural practice which has existed from the beginning of time, and in all cultures as it is the only way to have natural, biological children.

    Children take money and time to nurture and raise, and they have a right to live with their biological mother and father. Therefore, a married couple offers their child/children a long-term, stable family environment which is foundational to a civilised society. A mother is present when a baby is born. However, there is no guarantee that the father will be there for their child. When good-looking guys don’t identify with marriage for themselves they can get lots of girls/women pregnant, and our society will pay the ultimate price for fatherless children and single mothers. I went to school with a 14yr old girl who got pregnant to her step-father, and she went on to have 12 children to 5 different partners with all their housing and living costs paid by the Australian taxpayers as she never worked outside the home.

    For generations parents have been faithfully modelling the behavioural practice of marriage-sexual intercourse-“one flesh” to their children to prevent or decrease risk of jealousy, teenage pregnancy, domestic violence, illnesses, anxiety, depression, self-harm, self-loathing, suicidal thoughts, infections, diseases- pelvic inflammatory disease, STDs/HPV/HIV/AIDS, infertility, cancers, shorten life-span. There are significant harmful health and relationship problems by mixing sexual activities including anal and oral sex with sexual intercourse which can cause life-threatening infections/diseases leading to infertility, septicaemia and death. The Guardian recently reported, “Doctors warn the Super-Gonorrhoea is spreading across Britain.” This STD has become drug-resistant causing infertility, septicaemia and death. There is no vaccine to the Zika virus which is a new STD which causes significant health and relationship problems.

    Many woman divorce because of abuse, abandonment, adultery, and sexless marriage. So the government will need to seriously consider a man-made legal “open marriage” which gives women no protection or support. Guys may want to pursue women regardless of their marriage because they no longer value the morality of marriage. The Guardian has reported in a few articles of married men in England whom love their wives, but have decided to explore their sexuality with prostitutes and other women because their wives refused to give them their “sexual bucket wish” of anal and oral sexual activities. When our government believes it is normal and healthy for guys to sodomise other guys, then guys believe they have the same right to sodomise girls/women (gender equality). The government have taken away girl’s/women’s rights to refuse sodomy with sexual intercourse, despite it causing faecal incontinence and green vaginal discharge requiring specialist life-threatening treatment to prevent death. They require anal repair, and treatment for a serious infection causing pelvic inflammatory disease leading to infertility and septicaemia.

    Same-sex couples have been demanding Australians support their autonomous “open marriage.” They have been presenting their cases individually, but marriage isn’t about the individual because it requires a consenting non-relative of the opposite sex to perform “one flesh.” Australians need to decide if they want an “open marriage” or a “one flesh marriage” for themselves and their children because the government will be changing the Marriage Act for everyone. There is no such thing as a “same-sex marriage or a dog child,” but there are people whom want their relationship recognised as the same as “marriage,” and their dog to be treated the same as a child so they can be recognised as a “parent.” The Guardian recently reported that there are companies in England giving employees paid leave to care for their sick animal. Therefore, all the benefits to marriage, parent, families and children can be redefined by any relationship or animal. Brave new world – welcome to the new legal mind-set of “fantasy” autonomy and consent.
  • commented 2016-05-04 21:35:53 +0930
    Well done on 10 years Cory. You prove that it is possible for a politician to stand true to their word and not sway to media pressure, party politics or opposing public opinion. You are right, people want leaders that have a purpose and stand by what they say. And more importantly leaders that put the voters needs ahead of their own ambition or towing the party line. I agree with Jodie – if the LIb’s get in it’ll be because there is no other option. But why isn’t the Liberal party sticking to the Christian and family values it once stood strongly for. Why is our PM publicly saying that anyone who doesn’t support same sex marriage is a homophobe. Is he forgetting which party he is in? Does he not view statistics on how many Christians still live in our nation? And add to it other religions who share similar values regarding family, dare I say even muslims? Why are Christians being treated are minorities? Why are we wasting tax payer dollars on these social engineering programs such as ‘safe schools’ when our education system as a whole has much to be desired? We need more of you Cory. Leaders who speak common sense and are true to their word.
  • commented 2016-05-04 21:29:47 +0930
    some like me still do not trust Turnbull [eta uita brutus] and you to brutas supposed to hav been Julia’s Cesar
  • commented 2016-05-04 20:21:53 +0930
    Yes Congratulations Cory on your 10 years. Thank you for serving us.
  • commented 2016-05-04 20:14:24 +0930
    I think if Liberal get in again, it will be by the skin of their teeth, and not because we love them, but because we couldn’t vote for anyone else. Win by default is nothing to be proud of. In any case i believe just like US, UK,Germany,France, and the rest, it will be the last term left wing or Liberal get to serve. In another 4 years we will see the destruction of the Australian society and the cost of losing the Australian culture in Sydney for sure, and it’s going to be as bad as it is Europe. Liberal will lose the conservative vote. The only people left voting Liberal will be big business and globalists. The Greens will rise, and frankly they’d do a lot better if they dropped the immigration/asylum seeker vote and clearly separated from Labor. Labor’s base will stay about the same, a few more votes from the immigration vote buying. The clear upcoming winners in the next 4 years will be the right wing and ultra right wing, as Europe has proved, and the rise of god help us ‘Trump’. Liberal has ignored the warnings for too long. This will be their last term, and the damage to their party will be so horrendous, they will never recover.
  • commented 2016-05-04 19:58:13 +0930
    And yes should of course mentioned it first. CONGRATULATIONS Cory, keep it up. Hopefully in the Lib Party still, you will convert more of the Party to Conservative values, if you move all is lost.
  • commented 2016-05-04 19:48:53 +0930
    Congratulations Cory.
    There is only one thing wrong with Canberra, they have not got enough Cory Bernardi’s there.