What Does It Mean For Democracy When Pollies Jump The Party Ship?

What Does It Mean For Democracy When Pollies Jump The Party Ship?

As you are probably already aware, Cory Bernardi has split from the Liberal Party this morning to create his own political party - so what does this say about the Australian political system?

If you pay close attention to political goings on, you’ve probably known this was coming for awhile. Regardless of what you think about Senator Cory Bernardi’s politics, this move raises some very important questions about democracy in Australia.

Here’s the best analogy you’re going to see today: Say you and your friends are deciding where to go for dinner. You have whittled your options down to two: Italian or Japanes. You, of course, vote for Italian food because pizza is the bomb. Italian wins the vote and you head out fill your tummies with fresh ‘za. However, when you arrive at the pizza restaurant you find that Cory Bernardi is in charge of the oven tonight and he only knows how to make bruschetta, which you don’t mind, but don’t love and it’s absolutely not what you voted for.

Cory and the wooden spoon

“Rumours are circulating that the Senator has earned the nickname “Pasta Masta” inside of parliament.”

In a shockingly similar way, many SA voters may be feeling a bit duped today as Cory Bernardi has gathered votes under the banner of the Liberal party, only to bounce outta dat house to do his own thing.

Many of the members of the Liberal party are not happy with the decision. Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne called Cory on the decision via Twitter today, tweeting this message:

TWEETA

“Slay, slay, slay BOI!”

Cory addressed the senate on the issue earlier today, stating: “After a membership spanning my entire adult life… this has been a very difficult decision for me. Perhaps the most difficult one of my political life”

Beyond the why, Cory’s decision bring an interesting conundrum about the Australian political system to light. When we go to the polls, a lot of us cast our vote based on the party a candidate represents, not the individual. Is it fair that an elected individual can take those votes, jump the party ship and into their independent dinghy less than a year later? 

In these kinds of circumstances it seem like the polite thing (and ya know, democratic thing) to do would be to check in with said voters and see how the move affects them. I mean the chef in question might at least stick his head out of the kitchen and say ‘hey, you like bruschetta right? Cool if we do that instead pizza?’.

I’m not a political expert, but it seems weird to me that in this circumstance Senator Bernardi can leave the party he said he represented without checking in with the people who voted for him.

But seriously, expecting young people (let alone any other folk) to get involved in politics and show support for groups that recognise their ideals seems a bit rich when essentially the meaning behind our votes can shift **cough eight months cough** after the election is over.