Kevin Hogan MP for Page.
Kevin Hogan MP for Page.

Bernardi departure a 'betrayal'

PAGE MP Kevin Hogan has agreed, Cory Bernardi's departure from the national conservative coalition is a betrayal of voter expectations.

Liberal Party members and federal politicians Kelly O'Dwyer and Peter Dutton have told press their former colleague, Mr Bernardi, won his senate seat representing the Liberal Party for South Australians.

Mr Bernardi told parliament yesterday his decision to quit the coalition in favour of "something new" weighed heavily on his heart but he believed it was "the right thing to do".

"The seas on which we sail become ever more challenging," Mr Bernardi said, emphasising that he wanted to "put principle back into politics".

Principles Mr Bernardi has debated publicly include marriage equality and the controversial safe schools program, aimed at reducing bullying in education.

But Mr Hogan said the two issues were not hot topics raised with him in his northern NSW electorate and voter needs went beyond conservative values.

"Issues do vary, according to who you talk to," he said.

"People talk to me more about jobs, road and hospital upgrades, hip pocket issues like power prices, and refugees.

"We as Nationals have a real focus on what is important for people who live in regional Australia.

"Things they want to talk about is job security and making sure there are jobs for their kids. This outweighs classifications of left and right."

State Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis also weighed in on the decision, saying that as a Nationals member and a conservative he was "disappointed".

"Corey Bernardi was clearly elected as a Liberal senator on a Liberal ticket, that's who people elected to represent them, he's betrayed the team," he said.

"I'm not convinced he'll be effective working as an independent senator."

Mr Gulaptis said Australia needed a strong, cohesive government with some direction, and Mr Bernardi was headed the opposite way.

"It's almost a protest vote and quite frankly, with what we've seen in the US, the protest vote is not necessarily the best result for a country because ultimately, all it's doing is the complete opposite to what the establishment would do."

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