The defection of the ‘rat’ (as Bernardi is now called by the right-wing coalition) is emblematic of the Turnbull Government’s deep bitter division and a public display of the civil war in the Liberal Party of Australia.
The reality is the government is led by a man who does not believe most of the things he is now forced to say. Turnbull has lost his own way. As accurately described by one member of parliament “The Prime Minister is being paraded around like a prize bull at the Easter show, being paraded through the ring and being led by the nose by those on the far right.”
This is what happens when you sell your soul for the leadership. Australia now has a prime minister so weak he is only allowed to remain in the job for as long as he betrays virtually everything he ever stood for.
This has lead to a government that is riven with factionalism, dissent and distrust. A divided government, where the right hand does not know what the far Right hand is doing anymore.
We are seeing a Government and a Party coming apart at the seams and there is a very clear message in this for Prime Minister Turnbull: “you don’t negotiate with extremists”
While it is easy to blame Turnbull for Bernardi’s defection but remember this – As one Senator said “Senator Bernardi is 6½ foot of ego and not an inch of integrity.”
If he had had the guts to do it a year ago he might have got some grudging respect, but to do it just after he has been given a six-year term shows the sort of person that he is.